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magnificatFriday, December 1, was a beautiful mild late fall evening at Chanco on the James Camp and Conference Center. A number of women from around the diocese stepped back from the busy world outside Chanco for a time together to quiet our hearts and minds as we enter into Advent and prepare for Christmas. The Women’s Advent Retreat offered two options: an evening program Friday, Dec. 1 and/or a full day program Saturday, Dec. 2.

On Friday evening, we began the Advent retreat by creating an individual prayer scarf. As the fabric paint colors flowed onto our blank scarf, each woman created individual and beautiful scarves to proclaim, as Mary did, in the opening line of the Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” The night air was still warm and we gathered on the bluff of the James River by the cross for a surprise treat, a bonfire and s’mores! Oh, and songs too! Saturday the additional women arrived for the day-long portion of the retreat. The plan for the day provided ways to explore and interpret the Magnificat with reflection and discussion of the verses. We wondered about the possibilities of “Who was Mary?”, “Did she struggle with saying yes to God?” We continued our exploration by looking at how people through the ages expressed their interpretation of the Birth of Christ through Marian icons. We concluded the afternoon with the creation of an Anglican Rosary for use with a portion of the Magnificat for our personal prayer time during Advent and celebrated the coming of the season with Advent Lessons and Carols.

The Chanco Program Committee is committed to offering a Women’s retreat during Advent and Lent. Mark your calendar for the next Women’s Lenten Retreat on March 23-24, 2018. Watch this newsletter and www.chanco.org for more information and registration in early 2018. Questions about Women’s retreats or any events at Chanco? Please contact us at [email protected] or 888-7CHANCO (888-724-2626).  We look forward to seeing you at a retreat in 2018!