ACW IN The Diocese of Athabasca
National Conference 2008
Alive in the Spirit
“Alive in the Spirit” – this was the theme for the 2008 National ACW held in Kingston, ON at the Providence Spirituality Centre September 18 – 21 and what a great theme for my very first National Conference.
I arrived on Thursday, September 18 in Toronto and was meet by five other women from different diocese from the west and we travelled to Kingston together in a van, what a great way to begin my experience. Upon arrival in Kingston I was greeted by Marion Saunders (National ACW President) and the conference organizing committee. Before we could even settle into our rooms it was time for supper and I immediately felt like I was very much welcome and part of an extended family. We had been asked by Marion Saunders (a couple of days before the conference) to bring something that was meaningful to us and perhaps had some relationship to why we are involved in this ministry. With little time given my item came to me instantly, the group picture from our 2008 conference, what a better item then to bring all the women of the diocese with me.
Much of Friday was spent in the business meeting; this was a real learning experience for me as this was first national conference. I learned with all our differences across Canada we are far more similar, the same issues that women face in our diocese are mirrored across the nation with slight variations. The meeting continued all day Friday and into Saturday with breaks, thank goodness! On Friday we meet for Provincial Meetings and it allowed us to talk about our diocese and share ideas. It is interesting to note that we are one of the only diocese that hold a weekend conference and how important that is to us and that our annual meeting is such a minor part of our weekend together. After such a long day inside Friday we had a much deserved break before we meet in the evening and this gave me a chance to get outside and go for a walk with some of the other women. It gave us another chance to get to know each other and enjoy the lovely weather and our peaceful setting. We then resumed our evening with a guest speaker who led us through small group discussion about the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Saturday began with morning worship and then we continued with our meeting. Surprisingly we finished our business meeting early and gave us a little break before we went out for the afternoon on a boat cruise of the 1000 Islands and tour of Kingston. A great reward for all the work we had come together to accomplish and the weather cooperated too. Saturday evening we had a candlelight Eucharist a perfect ending to such a lovely day and time together.
As I prepared to leave on Sunday I reflected on the weekend and all the new relationships I had begun to build and all that I had learned. I also reflected on the theme “Alive in the Spirit” and where I fit into that, someone made a comment that weekend, I do not remember who but I jotted it down and it has stuck with me – “We are the living hands of Christ”. What an awesome experience it had been to come and represent all the women of the Diocese of Athabasca and I look forward to continuing to represent you.