Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Episcopal Church »  |  The Diocese of Virginia

Shrine Mont Retreat 2013: Community, Crosses, Prayer--and a Few Stink Bugs

We came in all ages to our retreat weekend—from those in their 60s and 70s to teenagers and one 10-year-old—and we even came from three separate Episcopal churches.  But from October 4 through 6 all fourteen of us were tied together in one community at Shrine Mont.

From St. John’s there were Lynn Robinson, Linda Trochim, Kay Wells, Sandy Winger, Bill and Faye Pritchard, our rector Ann Barker, and Diane Henderson and her teenaged daughter Galen (who brought her friend Kayla as well).  Sandy had carpooled with Richard Henry from St. Paul’s.  Barbara Wien, who attends St. Stephen and the Incarnation in DC, but joins us from time to time at services or for special occasions, joined us again for this retreat weekend and brought her teenaged son Vladi and her 10-year-old daughter Nora (both at right during the cross workshop).

We prayed together, sang together, ate plentiful country food together, shared conversations, and built a campfire and made s’mores together.  Many of us, including all of the younger generation, joined in a workshop where we built crosses from seeds, sticks, and other natural objects found at Shrine Mont and then shared the meanings those crosses held for us. 

Joining in Dance and Worship with Grace and Holy Trinity

On Saturday evening our community expanded as many of us joined members of Grace and Holy Trinity from Richmond and their college-aged youth group (from Virginia Commonwealth University/VCU) in what was advertised as a “square dance;” however, it included not just square dancing but everything from the hokey pokey and the bunny hop to the electric slide and whatever it is the college kids are dancing today.  That same evening several members of Grace and Holy Trinity and some of the VCU youth joined in conversation and s’mores around our campfire.  

On Sunday morning we joined Grace and Holy Trinity again, this time in celebration of the Eucharist at the outdoor Shrine.  Ann celebrated (at left), the Rev. Michael Caderet from Grace and Holy Trinity gave the sermon (at right), and several of their guitarists led the singing (included in the pictures at the end of the article.)

Time Alone, Too

We took time to do our own things, too, separately and in small groups—sitting in a rocking chair reading; walking the labyrinth; browsing the bookstore; tackling one of those impossible many-pieced puzzles in groups of two and three; playing a bean-bag game set up by Shrine Mont staff; hiking; taking a side-trip into Mt. Jackson; or singing along to Galen’s guitar.

And, Yes, Those Stink Bugs

Unfortunately, the stink bugs decided to join us, too.  They invaded Galen and Kayla’s room and the girls decided to move to another room.  The bugs invaded Nora and Barbara’s room, too, although in fewer numbers.  Nora and Barabara decided they could stay put.  No one seemed to be permanently fazed.   On the final day, after the Sunday Eucharist, we all gathered smiling for our group picture.

And here we all are...

Standing, from left to right:  Galen Henderson, Kayla, Richard Henry, Barbara Wien, her son Vladi, Linda Trochim, Diane Henderson, Kay Wells, Lynn Robinson, and Faye Pritchard.  Seated, from left to right:  Bill Pritchard, Sandy Winger, and the Rev. Ann Barker

 And here are a few more photos....












Making crosses:  Barbara Wien at left; and Galen and Kayla above.


Sharing our thoughts on the first night, at left; and dancing the bunny hop Saturday night, on the right below.








And Sunday morning Eucharist with Grace and Holy Trinity, below.


See you next year.