On November 5-6 the Mid-America Disciples Women held their annual Fall Retreat, this year at Camp Jo-Ota. The mission project for the retreat was making prayer bears. Thanks to President Dawna Watkins for her description of the project and the weekend.
The prayer bears are towels, receiving blankets, hand towels, or washcloths that have been folded into a simple teddy bear with ribbons or hair ties. The idea is that they are going to nursing homes, social services or police and fire stations that take stuffed animals for children in distress. These are just a little something that every woman can make and take as a ministry to another person in need. These prayer bear are multi-functional because if the person in distress should need a towel or baby blanket or hair ties, the bear can easily be unfolded. There is no gluing or sewing involved. As the pictures show, in one day we were able to take a stack of over 100 towels and receiving blankets, fold and rubber band them together to make adorable little bears. Here is a video on how to make the bears, and we plan to post the instruction sheet on our webpage and our Facebook page soon. The women at the retreat really enjoyed making these little prayer bears and we prayed over each one before farming them out to the churches represented so that they can find their way into the hands of children, teens, and the elderly. Each woman had a nursing home or children in mind when they folded and tied ribbons, then prayed over these prayer bears.
We also enjoyed the sessions by Rev. Laura Beth Zeh, one of the Region's female pastors in the northeast. The sessions were part of a series she called "The Mirror Series" and had us looking at ourselves in the light of looking at the Jesus within. Rev. Zeh gave us much to think about and we are grateful for her leadership this weekend. Some of us enjoyed the new and updated facilities of Camp Jo-Ota (Clarence, MO) and the wonderful nature trail around it's serene lake. We had a great fellowship and karaoke night Friday and meaningful worship and offering time Sunday. The offering we took up on Sunday will be going into a fund for Mid-America Disciples Women Ministries event scholarships.
Special thanks to Rev. Faye Vaughn, Tara Fugate, Katie Wodell, and Dawna Watkins who led workshops on prayer, round table discussion on younger women involvement, and the nature hike.
Please note that there will not be a fall retreat next year. Instead the focus will be the Heartland Inter-Regional Women's Mission First Event: June 23-25, 2017 at Culver Stockton in Canton MO. This is the gathering to be at in 2017, especially if you are missing Quadrennial or if you are looking for several service projects in one weekend and several hundred women sharing the work of God joyously. We will update the webpage with registration and scholarship forms as soon as they are available.