General Sharing: North American ROCA: Successful Women's Lenten Retreat at the St. Nicholas Convent, New YorkInbox
Successful Women’s Lenten Retreat at St Nicholas Convent
We thank God for granting us a very spiritually rewarding and uplifting retreat the weekend of
March 25-27. Though the turnout was small in number all the women present were greatly benefited
from the opportunity to join together in prayer and fellowship.
Kathy Kovalak from zoeforlife (www.zoeforlifeonline.org ) gave an
excellent presentation on how her organization came to be and
what it does presently to help women with unplanned pregnancies.
While it is obvious that the position of all Orthodox Christians is
to be against abortion, zoeforlife offers a proactive way for women
to avoid making such a choice.
Sarah Kambites' story of the start of the Orthodox Church in Uganda
in the 1920's by members of her own family, and the sharing of her
struggles in the faith while raising a family and holding down a career,
was inspiring. Sarah was a founding member and is still active at the
St Xenia parish (ROCA) in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
We were also fortunate to have a very informative talk by Elizabeth Priebe, choir director of the
Holy Ascension parish (GOC) in Rochester, NY, on the structure and development of the canons
used in the Matins service both inside and outside of Great Lent.
But of course the greatest blessing was the opportunity for the women to come together in prayer.
Friday evening we were joined by Fr Serge Boulter (All Saints parish (GOC), Cleveland, OH) and his
lovely matushka Vera for Matins and Saturday morning Liturgy followed by a memorial service
(pannikhida). All the women participated in the service either as chanters or readers. Saturday
evening we held a readers service at St Nicholas Convent and in the morning those still remaining
drove to Rochester, NY to join the parish there for Liturgy. Following Liturgy subdeacon Seraphim
Englehardt from Holy Ascension parish (ROCA) in Fairfax, VA presented his talk on Orthodox
All in all a blessed weekend and the women, spearheaded by Anna Winburne of St Seraphim parish
in Richmond, VA (GOC), are already looking forward to the next retreat.