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Over 500 Attend ‘In His Presence’ Women’s Retreat

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Attendees participated in engaging programs and celebrated two baptisms.

More than 500 women traveled to the Kalahari resort in Pocono Manor, Pa., from Oct. 27-29 for the 2023 Chesapeake Conference Women’s Retreat, “In His Presence.”

Organizers noted the significant presence of non-Adventist participants, brought by Chesapeake Conference members to join in the weekend’s activities. Two guests chose to be baptized in the resort’s pool on Sabbath afternoon, sparking conversations with onlookers about Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.

Anastacia Ferguson-Bansie, Chesapeake Conference Women’s Ministries field director and associate pastor of the Atholton (Columbia, Md.) church, said making the annual retreat more evangelistic has long been an objective. “[The retreat] is not just a thing for Adventists to go get ‘re-Adventist.’ It’s an opportunity to share who we are in a real and practical way that reaches the community,” she said.

The women’s retreat featured diverse programming tracks in English, Spanish, and for Teens. The English track featured main speaker Hyveth Williams, with Marquita Klinedinst and Renee Humphreys leading breakout seminars. Arsenia Fernandez Uckele headlined the Spanish track programming, complemented by seminar speaker Esther Tavarez. Teens enjoyed sessions with main speaker Kenia Reyes, and breakouts led by Isabella Parada and Meliah Martz.

Retreat participants expressed a deep appreciation for the atmosphere of sisterhood and the safe space created for open discussions about life, spirituality, and personal struggles.

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