Thanks to all who participated in the 2023 St. Mark’s Parish Retreat at Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg. We were a community of 62 participants – a great turn-out! – and if you couldn’t make it this year, we hope you’ll be able to join us next year. It was a grand time, with space for socializing and getting to know each other even better while we enjoyed the Ranch’s spectacular setting and wonderful food, and a nourishing program on “Rootedness” with The Very Rev. Julia McCray-Goldsmith that gave us opportunities for deep sharing; Debbie Clark’s sunny and uplifting Friday “bedtime story” that was so heart-warming, we clamored for a reprise on Saturday evening when she and Randy Smith MC’d a delightful Variety Show of St. Markans’ great – and questionable – talents; Carla Bliss’s watercolor painting session; Lily Dodge’s shepherding of the children in so many fun activities; Matthew Burt’s beautiful music and song-leading, including his original composition of a round especially for the event and his bringing the children together for a delightful handbell choir! Chip Camden led sung Morning Prayer and Debie Thomas led the evocative New Zealand Prayerbook Night Prayer, Mary Dillard led us in meditation, and our Sunday morning Celtic Eucharist was an intimate and sacred closing of a special time together.
The community that both prays and plays together is a joy and a blessing! We have so many opportunities to do both here at St. Mark’s, and our life together as followers of Jesus in this time in this place is flourishing!