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Women "Branded in Christ" at Glacier View Ranch »
Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) produced its biannual women’s ministries retreat the weekend of September 28-30, focusing on the theme “Branded in Christ.” To provide continuity with this overarching theme, DeeAnn Bragaw, RMC women’s ministries director, and her creative team decked out both themselves and the lodge in authentic Western style, with boots, hats, chaps, plaid shirts, and bandannas, along with lots of y’alls, howdies, and other cowgirl/rodeo-inspired talk. Heather Dawn-Small, women’s ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist world church based in Silver Spring, Maryland, provided the devotional talks each day, using personal stories and Bible verses to convey the message that women are “branded” as daughters of Christ. Because of this relationship, they can be confident in their inherent value, beauty, and strength—experiencing transformative joy through Jesus.
The devotionals were accompanied by Sabbath-afternoon workshops on topics such as “Bible Appreciation—Literature and So Much More!” presented by the ever-popular Ardis Stenbakken, a former director of women’s ministries at the General Conference who now lives in Colorado. There was plenty of time for socializing with a Saturday-night “rodeo,” free time for walks around the ranch in the sunshine, and several volunteer projects on Sunday morning.
One special highlight of the weekend was the surprise farewell for Ginger Bell who is stepping down as women’s ministries director at Rocky Mountain Conference after many years of service. She was honored by her successor in front of her husband, children, and grandchildren, and received a standing ovation from the audience. A huge cake served in her honor was enjoyed and appreciate by everyone.
The more than 150 women, ranging in age from teenagers to those in their eighties, came from all over the conference, with representatives from as far away as Waterflow, New Mexico, and many from Wyoming and distant parts of Colorado.
RMC women's ministries retreats will commence as annual events, the next one scheduled for April 26-28, 2019, at Glacier View Ranch, following the theme “Stay Anchored!” Holding the next retreat at that date will give women the opportunity to attend the NAD Women’s Ministries Convention in Florida in September 2019.
-- Text and photo by Becky De Oliviera