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Growing Together

November 2, 2022

Over 60 women gathered for an intergenerational, multicultural weekend to be equipped, encouraged, and empowered for leadership where God has called them. This women’s Coffee Break Leadership retreat, organized by Global Coffee Break and Classis Atlantic Northeast, was held in Ashford, Conn., and centered on the theme “God’s story, Our story.”

“During this event I grew in curiosity about how my story can be used to share and reveal God's story,” one participant explained. She added that she had gained a greater understanding of the elements of a great story, learned how Scripture fulfills those elements, and recognized how that can open doors for sharing the gospel with family and neighbors.

During the weekend, attendees participated in various break-out sessions and small group Bible studies, as well as main sessions led by Rev. Elaine May and Dr. Gwenfair Adams. Several women reported that the event opened their eyes to the diversity of God's family.

“The largest ethnic group in attendance was our Indonesian sisters, but we also had women from Filipino and Indian backgrounds,” said Diane Averill, one of the organizers of the event. “We offered translation equipment for those who found it helpful to have the main presentations in their own language.”

In addition to ethnic diversity, the event included women of a variety of ages, including some high school students. One breakout session led by Annika Bangma was titled “Empowering Youth to Grow the Church.” Women and their daughters or nieces joined in small group sessions to discover their unique giftings for God’s purposes.

Another learning opportunity included “Sketching as Prayer,” in which participants took advantage of the brilliant fall foliage to draw into God’s presence.

Attendees also spent time together in worship and prayer. On Sunday, Rev. Mike Sullivan led a worship and communion service. And many participants spent time praying with and for each other throughout the weekend.

“God expanded my friendships this weekend,” one woman said about the experience. “He taught me a new way of discipleship.”

Women’s Coffee Break leadership retreats had been held annually by Classis Atlantic Northeast before the COVID-19 pandemic. The return to the event this year was warmly welcomed and was made possible through support from many sources, including Classis Atlantic Northeast, private donations, Global Coffee Break, and Resonate Global Mission.

“It really was lovely,” said Averill. “God did more than we could ask or imagine this past weekend.”