Heart + Mind + Spirit

June 15, 2010 04:56 PM

Healthy women can produce healthy families, churches, and communities. Healthy women can develop healthy, more just and more holistic societies.


Those were the themes that inspired the Circle of Women at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Fort Salonga to organize Heart+Mind+Spirit, an interdenominational day of renewal for women of all ages. "It was developed to allow women the opportunity to take a day to feed themselves spiritually and emotionally and to learn healthy strategies," said Deacon Lori Scaffidi. "Most women are so busy running all the time and taking care of others’ needs—we wanted to offer a day where women could relax and enjoy a stress-free day with each other." The planning team of Pastor Jennifer Casey, Deacon Scaffidi, Kathy Pucci, Magda Ryan, and many volunteers began working last fall to make the day become a reality.


Over 60 women from throughout the synod and the community gathered at Abiding Presence on May 22 for Heart+Mind+Spirit. The focus on wellness was present in every aspect of the day. Upon arrival, women gathered for a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit, bagels, yogurt and granola. The opening worship utilized a litany celebrating women, asking God for all women to have the opportunity to serve and lead in the church, and praying for those sisters who are silent because of oppression. Pastor Jonathan Linman, Assistant to the Bishop for Formation, then led an interactive Bible study on what the words heart, mind, and spirit mean in Paul’s letter to the Romans and for renewal in our daily lives. "The keynote was amazing," said Gladys, a participant. "It was like being in a college class."


A wide variety of workshops were offered as breakout sessions. Women could chose between workshops on prayer, midlife spirituality, healthy eating, tai chi, and green living. "There was a diverse selection of options that really inspired me," said Gloria. Many participants found it hard to pick just two sessions to attend and wished that the event was longer than just one day.


In addition to workshops, there were a number of other activities from which to choose. Stress tests, glucose screenings and massages were available. Women were invited to sit in a meditative garden for quiet time or follow a walking path for exercise. In the parish hall, participants could purchase fair trade coffee and chocolates, pins to benefit a local homeless shelter, or bracelets and coin purses to benefit a non-profit fighting human trafficking. In the narthex, women were encouraged to journey through "Stations of the Heart," where every station involved a Bible verse and a hands-on activity regarding healthy hearts in emotional, physical and spiritual contexts. Childcare was provided all day; children joined their mothers for a nutritious lunch. The day of rejuvenation closed with a service of Holy Communion and healing.


"When my husband asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I said, ‘I want May 22,’" said Jean, a participant reflecting on the day. "It was the perfect gift."





Pr. Dolores McKay: It's never too late