Pastors, commissioned pastors, and their spouses, from all the participating presbyteries gathered at The Graduate Hotel, February 16-19, 2020, for a retreat focusing on the unique needs of pastor spouses, and for sabbath rest for the pastors. Julie Anderman, of Artos Retreats, lead workshops for the spouses. Based on the pictures shared, we understand some fun games were played. No pastors (unless they were the spouse of a pastor) were allowed in the room. Kili Wenburg, a PLR coaching mentor, lead workshops for the pastors how ways to practice Sabbath rest. Both retreat leaders were very well received.
Becky Balestri, the PLR Program Manager, led the worship services, using a variety of experiential worship experiences. Surprising to her, was how well received a time of coloring mandalas was received by all participants.
The participants were also given large blocks of time to enjoy the city of Lincoln. Some went to the museum. Others went to Trader Joe’s and Hobby Lobby, stores not available in their communities. All went out for lunch and dinner in the Hay Market of Lincoln.
A particularly well received practice during the retreat was prayer walking. The participants were divided up into small groups. Each group was given a map of the area surrounding the hotel and sent in different directions. They were asked to stop and pray, as moved by the Spirit, for whatever was in front of them. Some comments from the retreat evaluations were “It was tremendous to share time with other ministerial couples. The free time was so necessary to start and build these relationships.” “It gave us (me) insight to what are some of the needs and issues faced by pastors’ spouses, that are [also] present in our situation. The idea that this was not just an ‘us’ thing.” (Note: this response was from a pastor.) And,Kili’s program exceeded my expectation and really got me to examine how neglectful I was of my sabbath – wonderful opportunity to refocus my sabbath time and practice.”