Do you remember what it felt like to receive a party invitation when you were young? They were in the form of a card, or maybe if you’re younger than me, it came to you in an email. Whether it was on paper or digital, it was fun, even exciting and receiving the invitation gave you a feeling of being wanted and included. I’ll get back to this later.
At the Nature and Nurture retreat June 3-5 at Samish Island, we ‘invited’ people outside of our church community by advertising on meeup.com and Eventbrite. One-third of our attendees were people we had never met before and who had never been to Samish Island!
Our goal for this retreat was mainly to welcome people back to in-person activities. We knew a lot of our regular team would not be available that weekend, so with the small team of Patti Beer, Barbara Rose (Seattle) and myself we planned a retreat that was largely outdoors, with lots of time for visiting. We intentionally allowed up to 2 hours for meals and cleanup so everyone would have lots of time to linger over their meals and chat, and we set up the mornings with a toast bar at 7am, Yoga at 8am, and Breakfast didn’t start until 9am so that those who needed sleep could rest a little longer.
Mother Nature had her fun with us, pretty much turning on the faucet a few times, but she did share the sun with us for several hours on the Saturday. We had advised people to bring appropriate clothing so we could be outside no matter what the weather conditions were, and we kept the fireplace in the dining going the whole weekend.
Our activities included Dancing the Labyrinth, Meaningful Conversation Groups, Forest Bathing, Qi Gong, Blue Mind Water, Canoeing and Paddleboarding, Yoga sessions, and the 5 Rhythms. There were challenges navigating the world of Covid precautions and of course the weather, but for those of us who know Samish it so was great to be back, and our new people were wide eyed with amazement at our retreat space. One of them will be coming to Samish Reunion with her grandson, and a group of women intend to make the Nature and Nurture retreat an annual event.
Back to the ‘invitation’. If you’ve ever felt like inviting a friend to one of our Community of Christ events is pressuring them, I want you to re-think that and remember how it feels to be the one who is invited. Community of Christ members have a history of being invitational and we truly are a welcoming community. Let’s remember that. And remember that during covid many people have been lonely and are searching for a place to belong. Let’s not miss this opportunity to make wonderful new friends and welcome them into our community whether it’s a retreat, a zoom session, a Creating Connection activity, online church or in-person church.
To learn more about advertising on meetup.com or Eventbrite or other social media platforms, please contact me, email@example.com or toll free 1-877-411-2632 ext 4. This is YOUR invitation.
Creating Connection Director
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537