Chesapeake Conference churches added 545 new members in 2022 through baptism or profession of faith.
The one-day retreat focused on the theme of “Unstoppable Praise.”
Women from throughout Chesapeake Conference gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in Columbia, Md., for the conference’s annual women’s ministries retreat on Oct. 30.
Nearly 160 women attended the full-capacity event that included worship, fellowship meals, and breakout sessions in English and Spanish. Tamyra Horst, communication director for Pennsylvania Conference, served as the retreat’s keynote speaker and spoke on the day’s theme of “Unstoppable Praise.”
“It was just an easygoing day for women where we could get together, share common interests, and be filled spiritually,” says Anastacia Ferguson-Bansie, Chesapeake women’s ministries director. “We know life has been challenging with the pandemic and just the reality of life in general, but the concept behind our theme was that we shouldn’t allow anything or anyone to hinder us from praising God, even through the messiness of life.”
Another key focus of the day was addressing domestic issues and abuse that women face. According to Bansie, women’s ministry events mustn’t trivialize the problems many women face at home.
“Women shouldn’t come to events like this and think that once they pray, everything’s going to be great,” Bansie says. “We spent some time teaching women how to be safe at home; how to navigate complex stressors within the family and how to know when something’s not OK.”
The breakout session also spent time coaching attendees to be supportive friends to women facing issues at home.
Bansie hopes women left this year’s retreat feeling inspired to persevere with Christ while maintaining an honest view of how hard life can be. “I want women to take back a strong resolve to remain rooted in Christ no matter what,” she says. “But I hope they understand that being rooted in Christ doesn’t divorce us from our emotions, our feelings, or the realities of life.”