Women’s Weekend 2021 In The Diocese of Central Newfoundland

Marilyn Dowden

A Women’s Weekend/Conference was held on October 29th-31st at Lion Max Simms Memorial Camp in the Diocese of Central Newfoundland. There were 31 ladies in attendance. The theme for the weekend was “Arise! Let Your Light Shine.” The theme song was “Children of the Light.”

Registration was scheduled for 4:00, but ladies started arriving even before that time—everyone was so anxious and so excited to be able to gather and see each other for the first time in months! There were COVID-19 restrictions, but no one had any objections to following guidelines. Masks could in no way covered the smiles and laughter that began from the beginning of the conference.

At registration, each lady was given a zip-lock bag containing their name tag, a bookmark, a tea light candle, and a few treats. The tea light candles were hand held high as we sang songs of light throughout the weekend.

The opening worship was a “Service of Light,” reflecting the theme of the weekend. Following the worship, there was a time for “ice breakers,” and then free time for fellowship. The energy, both spiritual and physical, could be felt throughout the centre from the time of arrival. Literally hundreds of candles of all shapes and sizes lit up different areas of the centre. In fact, our Saturday night dinner was lit by candlelight.

Our speaker for the weekend was Archdeacon Charlene Taylor from the Diocese of Eastern NL. She was an excellent choice, and spoke to our theme on a number of levels. She inspired us, challenged us, and give us so much food for thought. Her presentations were captivating. Thank you, Archdeacon Charlene.

Besides hearing from our guest speaker, there was free time on Saturday and also a prayer walk as we walked around the beautiful surroundings in the area, stopping to pray and to take in the beauty of God’s creation. The weather was absolutely beautiful. 

On Saturday evening, we came together for evening worship and sharing time. During this time, we were asked to share one thing that had brought light into our lives during the dark times of COVID with all the restrictions. The answers were heart warming.

Then came the time for laughter and fun. There were a number of skits, including a “wedding” and a “trip to the doctor’s office.” There were games of cards and lots of singing (while wearing masks).

We were very blessed with lots of music. Our music team included May Feltham, Gertie Hodder, and Marilyn Rideout. What a great team they made. Lorraine Morgan brought along her guitar and even entertained the kitchen staff. There were a number of vocals.

Besides candles, the centre was beautifully decorated with lots of fall decorations brought along by the committee and some other ladies. Needless to say, the meals were delicious and the staff very friendly. They were as happy to see us as we were to see them.

Following the Eucharist on Sunday morning, a number of ladies stayed to enjoy their meal with each other rather than take it with them on the road. There was a reluctance to leave with some asking, “Can we do this again next weekend?” One lady said, “We came here strangers and we are going home friends.”

The committee for the weekend was: the Rev’d Daphne Parsons, Marilyn Rideout, Rose Collins, and Marilyn Dowden. None of them had attended a women’s weekend before but was blessed indeed by organizing and witnessing the light of Christ shining in and through all who attended. Thank you, ladies, for attending. 

For the ladies on the Burin Peninsula who were not permitted to attend due to the COVID-19 outbreak in your area at that time, please know that we missed you, were sad for you, and prayed for you.

We give God thanks for making it possible for us to attend this conference in 2021. We encourage other ladies to attend whenever possible.

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