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Florida Women and Religion's Annual Spring Retreat

April. 22-24, 2005

at U.U. in the Pines, Brooksville, FL

Sisters, many of us are feeling an intense longing in our lives for serenity and calm and, indeed, a deeper sense of the spiritual in our lives. We are longing for the restoration of power and energy that seems to be drained away in these chaotic times. We are constantly faced with schedules that are over-burdened. We note that our desires to take care of ourselves are too often pre-empted by our need and wish to care for others.

This retreat begins on Earth Day, April 22, 2005. We will come together to reconnect with the earth, with our thankfulness for the grounding and inspiration that is abundant in this realm, and with ourselves as spiritual beings.

We will come together for a weekend with no demands and yet many opportunities. Opportunities for your creative self to be expressive; for your spiritual self to reconnect with a deeper consciousness within you; for your Earth-being-self to give service to the Pines as we help heal the grounds. Read further to learn more about these options.

There will be the opportunity to enter a period of silence at the end of Friday's gathering and to emerge from it at 5:00 PM on Saturday, both by way of a guided meditation. Connecting with friends, old and new, can be significantly different and satisfying through non-verbal expressions. Speak to some of the women who participated in the last silent Women & Religion retreat at the Pines and discover their appreciation of time with no verbal demands. This is a brief taste of silent community that we believe will leave you refreshed and wanting more. This retreat cannot claim that it will satisfy your longing but it does claim that it will give you a window of opportunity to tap into that root and find some ways of healing and nurturing your life.


At the Root of Longing – the Saturday Experience

North The direction of the earth, of the body, introspection, mystery, the power to keep silent.
Experience: creating a Secret Garden triptych, a 3-panel collage that begins with the edges folded in to form a gate on the outside, opening to your spiritual garden. Basic materials supplied.
The direction of the air, of light, of the emerging soul, of the power to know.
Experience: writing in answer to questions that will help your inner light to emerge and your soul to speak. You may want to bring a journal for this, or some special writing papers and instruments.
South The direction of fire, of energy and spirit, of the power of will.
Experience: creating your Spirit Candle to light your way on your spiritual journey and to add to the altar for the Saturday evening experience. Basic materials supplie
West The direction of water, of emotion, of the power to dare.Experiences: creating and decorating a medicine bag to heal yourself and the earth (basic materials supplied). Working at the Pines to heal some hurricane damage, in silence (after instructions given).
Center The point of transformation, of pure essence, of timelessness, of the power to go.
Experiences: Meditation in any form that helps you access your spiritual center in addition to what we are providing. If you want to bring meditative music we will have a space provided for this. The Center, of course, is the invitation of the rituals that we will be doing on Friday and Saturday nights.

Other spiritual activities that you might choose to experience: Readings from selected books we will provide, on loan for the weekend only, on women’s spirituality and nature – see our book list for suggestions in case you want your own copy. Yoga in the outdoors, in the early morning and other times, led by experienced teachers. A creative project that you bring to the retreat. Silent communication with other women at the Pines. Walks in the woods. Breathing.

Remember: Bring small objects with special meaning to you to decorate (or use in) the spirit candle, the medicine bag, or the Secret Garden triptych – such as beads, charms, crystals, shells, stones, feathers, etc. Also bring 2-3 favorite magazines to use and share, for cutting out pictures.

Our Retreat Leaders
April 22-24, 2005 at U.U. in the Pines, Brooksville, FL

Retreat Facilitator Biography:

Susan (Stephenson) Hefte has been involved with Florida Women and Religion almost from its beginnings. She was W & R co-chair (with Emily Williams) for two years and has facilitated many W&R retreats at The Pines, including the very first one in November 1987. Her background is in transpersonal psychology with an emphasis on creativity and spirituality. She is a retired licensed mental health counselor and currently facilitates Alternatives To Violence Project community workshops in the Tampa Bay area and monthly at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex. She is also an experienced quilter and textile artist.
Susan has loved facilitating women's retreats and groups since the mid-70's and finds the focus of this retreat particularly valuable. She looks forward to seeing you there.
Sarah K. Snyder is a national consultant and trainer living in Seminole, and has been active in women’s groups and spirituality for over 25 years. She has participated in and led women’s retreats and groups, including some at the Pines. She led one of the national test groups (in Pinellas County) during the final completion of the “Rise Up and Call Her Name” UU curriculum. She counts herself very fortunate to be a part of the truly heady days of the growing women’s spirituality blossoming starting in the mid-70’s, and is excited about continuing the tradition.
Sarah has been having a great time planning this retreat with Susan, and can hardly wait to be silent and spiritual with you!


You may make a donation to UU Women and Religion here. We are a 501(c)3 organization. Please select the quantity of $10 increments you would like to donate.