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Always it’s to strengthen my resolve for standing up to patriarchal situations that I encounter and to try and turn those circumstances into teachable moments, somehow.  Our Joseph Priestley District Women and Religion retreats never have failed to give me the inspiration for “standing strong.”

Joseph Priestley District UU W&R
When I first recall the very good experience I had at this year’s recent retreat (from enjoying my room, food and beauty of the environment to my breakthrough awareness I found for a very confusing situation I’m presently living through), I feel immense gratitude for what the Facilitators’ Circle created for us participants.  The emotional climate, easy schedule and the content were exactly what I needed.

A highpoint was Heather Gehron-Rice’s “just-right” service she gave us Sunday morning (especially the story about the shards of glass.)  I’ve heard that story before and never quite got it until Heather put it into words.

I have been at most of the JPD W&R retreats since 1980 and expect the quality to be a spiritually fulfilling experience every time.

This time I decided, beforehand, to not bring up my personal situation in order to emphasize positive energy.  My expectation was to find enough healing to be able to face the problem when I returned home.  I ended up coming home with much more positive energy and healing than I could’ve dreamed would be possible (because I felt enough trust to share my problem.)  The after-glowing I feel is blessing me with new lightheartedness and peace in a continuing undercurrent for my daily life, now.  I know I have my JPD sisters’ faith and love and return those same vibes to all of them.

Helen Pop, Germantown, MD Sugarloaf Congregation of Unitarian Universalists


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