Jesus told his disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile,” and for the second straight year the Presbytery of Newark has offered that opportunity to its ministers using the facilities of the Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, a retreat facility in a beautiful wooded environment in Holmes, New York, administered by the Presbyteries of Hudson River, Long Island, and New York City. This year, from October 8 through 10, seven church leaders enjoyed a peaceful natural environment, remarkably fresh air, walking trails, and some really outstanding meals prepared by the Holmes staff.
The experience was topped off by a presentation on “Motivating and Inspiring Called Disciples” by Karen Noble from Central Presbyterian Church (Montclair), a skilled presenter and facilitator. Karen’s talks provided context for stimulating and illuminating discussions by the participants that began with the first arrivals and continued through the final lunch on Wednesday. Among Karen’s topics were the importance of aligning vision and church structure; the value of quietness and “space” in allowing the Spirit to speak; and the importance of developing the habit of coaching as a method of communication. Jesus’ advice is sound: quietness and a change of location can renew and reinvigorate us. Hopefully we will be able to find more and more opportunities for such “purposeful pauses” as time goes on.
Kirk Woodward, Pastoral Leader at Bethel Presbyterian Church & Fewsmith Memorial Presbyterian Church