On the weekend of Sept. 13-15, 111 people gathered at Muskoka Woods campground to enjoy worship, talks, fellowship and friendly competition. We were grateful to the Church of the Incarnation for once again being our drop-off and pick-up area for those taking the buses up north. Once we began our journey from Toronto, the singing of songs and the camaraderie began as we drove through rain and lightning storms. Another bus came from Trinity, Aurora while other participants made their own way to the camp.
We started the retreat with a snack and “ice-breaker” competitions led by Cormac Culkeen of St. John, West Toronto, who was also our emcee for the weekend. In the evening was worship, and Andrew Coleman of Christ Church, Deer Park talked about the different ways that people pray and what prayer meant to him.
The next day we awoke to drier weather, which we were grateful for as there was a large game of Capture the Flag to start the morning. We then gathered for worship. A huge thank-you goes out to the St. Paul, Bloor Street youth band, produced by Ian Koiter, who led the worship music for the weekend. The juniors and seniors then split, with the juniors going to “The Underground” to dig deeper into prayer while the seniors stayed in “The Hanger” to explore how personalities can be brought into prayer. The day continued with afternoon activities, including high ropes, wall climbing, skateboarding and playing in the gym. The evening featured an epic game of “Head, Shoulders, Knee and Cups!” We then participated in our last session. The juniors walked the labyrinth (graciously provided by St. Thomas, Brooklin) and prayed together through words, movement and silence, while the seniors discussed how their personalities influenced how they prayed and how to make prayer a meaningful activity in their lives. We rounded off a very busy day with a game of “Flame Battlers” – always a crowd favourite!
On our final day, we worshipped and celebrated the Eucharist together. We were very happy to have Bishop Jenny Andison, our link bishop from the College of Bishops, come to the retreat and celebrate with us. In her homily, she reinforced that “God wants to hear from you” and that we need to be bold and that God loves us. We ended our event with a group photo and an amazing lunch. We look forward to another retreat next September.