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A Storied Fall Retreat: Reflections on the 2017 DHPC Fall Retreat

Thank you to Elizabeth Adams and the Congregational Life team who coordinated a wonderful retreat for the DHPC family. Here are Elizabeth’s reflections on the church’s weekend in the mountains.

The first weekend of November members and friends of DHPC enjoyed a wonderful weekend retreat at the Hinton Center, a retreat center on Lake Chatuge in the North Carolina mountains.  Our journey to NC offered us a chance to reflect on our journeys of faith and to learn about how God calls and has always called God’s people to action.  Over the course of the weekend retreat participants were guided by the DHPC stewardship theme “A Generous Calling,” in an exploration of biblical and personal stories of God’s call.

Friday, after a long day and drive into the mountains our group of 20 enjoyed an evening reception and lively rounds of “Name that Call Song” (the fact that we were a multigenerational group came in handy) and “Old Testament Call Story Charades.” Our lodging at Hinton was comfortable by DHPC retreat standards, and most of us enjoyed a good night’s rest.

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On Saturday, Pastor Shelli led a morning program called “What’s Your Story” during which we explored our faith journeys. We laid out paper “stepping stones,” smooth and jagged ones, as we reflected on the experiences of our lives, considering our relationship to God over time.  We shared our experiences with a few others and appreciated that each of us had had a time when our path is rocky.

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Colors abounded.  It was the peak of leaf season and reds, yellows, and oranges surrounded us in the trees.  The same colors, reflected in the mirror of the lake, were joined by the blues and purples of sky and mountains. During a hike for all age groups, amidst the finest of fall’s fleeting beauty, we relished God’s creation and our lucky timing.

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Colors flowed inside too, as Teresa Edmisten taught us to spin yarn from soft mohair wool of many beautiful saturated colors. It turns out spinning is not for sissies, as our great, great, great grandmothers likely knew. While we students fumbled with our spindles, it was mesmerizing to watch Teresa at her wheel. With the first rows of thread woven onto the loom, we saw how beautiful the work would be. We will have a tapestry one day filled with threads as rich and multicolored as our stories.

One of the highlights of every DHPC retreat is the campfire sing-a-long led by Susan Rutherford on guitar and mandolin and Howell Adams on guitar. With no song sheets on hand, we discovered that our phone screens could provide both the words and the light to see them, thereby freeing up a hand for the sipping of a warming beverage or the munching of a s’more.

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Sunday morning, we worshiped in a chapel filled with windows, accompanied by guitars and the mandolin. The service employed gesture, poetry, and acting and included some great discussion about Samuel and the call of David.

As we left Hinton, planning to return next year, it was sunny with a cool breeze, a quintessential fall day.  Some of us prepared to head home directly.  Others, inspired to explore, decided to enjoy a day in the mountains. It was a truly lovely event and we hope you will plan to join us next year! Save the date now: November 2-4, 2018! All are welcome!