At Church | Published 2010/09/10

Women’s Spiritual Retreat 2010

By Maruszka Wawruszak
Manyung Camp - Mouth Eliza

Women’s Spiritual Retreat 2010

Manyung Camp - Mouth Eliza

Imagine.... watching the sun set over Port Phillip Bay and the surrounding vineyards from the window of your cosy cabin... where you are no more than 300 metres from the shore-line.  Sounds too good to be true? Camp Manyung has provided this and more... like the value of sisterhood, open, honest, safe, nurturing environment to … hear stories of real struggle that could easily devastate anyone, but as we listened we heard strength, encouragement, determination, and faith. Celebrating what God has done and is still doing in our lives.

We were introduced to history of JEM (justice, empowerment, missions) helping many young people struggling with life-controlling issues and crisis care … The Asher house which provides for young women and girls, in need, a safe place to call home… a presentation followed by donations on sponsoring orphans and orphanage birthday parties.

Our mornings unfolded with prayer walks in a peaceful environment...enjoying leisurely breakfasts ….lovely al fresco lunches, not to mention our splendidly scrumptious afternoon tea … and at dinner, reflections of the day were shared. We all left feeling peaceful and empowered in our individual circumstances. Pictures tell our stories...  

Margaret Kelly



Alicia Patterson Presenting Portraits of Faith

When you close your eyes and imagine Jesus walking on this earth, what is the picture that you see?

Do you see Jesus at the Genezareth lake with his disciples, walking through the fields of wheat, preaching in the temple, always surrounded by people; Jesus healing the sick, blessing children?

Now let’s have a look at picture that might surprise you.  Luke 8,1-3: ‘Jesus was travelling through some cities and small towns, he preached and told the Good News about God’s kingdom. The twelve apostles were with him, and also some women who had been healed of sicknesses and evil spirits: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, the wife of Cuza (the manager of Herod’s house); Susanna; and many others. These women used their own money to help Jesus and his apostles.’

Have you included women in your picture of Jesus, even if you are a women yourself? Women took care of Jesus and his disciples, provided for them financially, and yet they are almost invisible! They were airbrushed out of the picture by our forefathers.  Some commentaries even omit this passage, while all others concentrate only on Mary.

Dsc_0049_original Alicia as Mary of Magdala

As the portrait of these women has been diminished, so has the picture of ourselves that we carry in our minds. The voices, that we hear – our selftalk – can be true or false. If they don’t agree with what God thinks about us, as expressed by Him in the Bible, then they are untrue. We live in enemy’s territory and all his false advertizing has an influence on us! If you have thoughts in your head that sound holy but are condemning, then it’s a sickness. Be healed by Jesus, hear what He says: There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ (Romans, 8,1). By the grace of God we are the daughters of the King of the universe and we are free.

We have all heard about Mary Magadalene, but do you recall knowing anything about Joanna or Susanna? Don’t worry, neither did most of us. However, these women seem like friends to us now. Alicia painted their portrait with such artistry, conviction and expertise that it was one of the most pleasurable, insightful and moving experiences of the retreat. It took us back to Jesus’ times, as it was performed in historical costumes and coloured by sound understanding of their culture, as this was the topic of Alicia’s masters degree in Religion (A DVD of these performances available in the church library, or viewed on Alicia’s website

Dsc_0103_original Alicia as Joanna

‘You are each artists in your own right, working with God to create your future. And what is more powerful than women coming together to support each other in a common goal of fully becoming the godly women they have been created to be?’

And did we mention that we had a lot of fun together??? Just look at this:


Article from the last year's event click here...