Our Fall Retreat with H2O Kent was different this year. We felt it was important to minimize the risks of transmitting COVID-19, so events were organized with just a couple of Life Groups getting away together, instead of the whole church.
Consequently, we didn’t pack out a whole camp-ground with a raucous crowd of college students. Instead, we camped out — each person in his or her own tent — in a grassy area behind the home of Regan’s grandmother in rural Stark County. And it was just seven of us from the collection of Life Groups we’ve come to call the “Fellowship of the Hawk.”
We didn’t bring in a dynamic speaker from outside of Kent. Instead, it was mostly casual group discussion, with some facilitation by me. And I genuinely believe the best spiritual engagement happened when each of us took an hour to ourselves to focus on prayer.
There were no “H2Olympics” for us this year. We didn’t get to sing our guts out over an extended set of musical worship. Our weekend didn’t include any baptism celebrations; however, it did prompt an interesting conversation with Cor indicating that he might like to be baptized soon!
Still, even with all the differences, our Fall Retreat was delightful.
We managed to hit all the hallmarks of a Midwestern Fall Retreat: s’mores, apple orchards (including apple-chucking), pumpkin patches, corn fields. Mostly, though, I’m going to remember simply sitting around the fire with Regan, Cam, Meg, Meg, Morgan, Cor, and Linda.
Even under challenging circumstances, I’m glad for creativity and community!