2024 Pastors’ Wives Retreat Delivers Encouragement, Support

On Feb. 2-4, a total of 17 NOW District pastors’ wives – along with a couple of excellent presenters – gathered to enjoy a refreshing weekend together in Tigard, Oregon. This event was organized by a team of dedicated women who have been actively working to create a thriving wives group in the district.

Mary Durkin is one of those women. She is part of the planning team that helped organize the retreat – which was focused on the theme ’You are mine’ from Isaiah 43. She shared her perspective on how it went: “The common thread of being wives to Lutheran pastors drew us together immediately. We have common experiences, joys, and struggles,” she said. “Spending time together formed bonds that will continue beyond a three-day retreat to lasting friendships throughout the year. The theme for the weekend was taken from Isaiah 43 and provided encouragement and comfort. We enjoyed singing and praising God throughout the weekend. Thanks to a resource from Visual Faith Ministries, the group spent some time meditating on our theme verse and Bible journaling.”

Durkin added: “As a new pastor’s wife in the NOW District, I was blessed with a scholarship to be able to attend the conference. My husband, John Durkin, is a participant in the Ministry Applied Practice (MAP) program, and MAP participant wives were encouraged to attend the conference. I’m thankful for the generosity of the NOW District for allowing me to attend the conference without concern for financial roadblocks. Taking time to refuel and connect with other women, walking the same path as me, was a way to nourish my soul as I return to serving our congregation. My hope is that more pastors’ wives from our district will attend this conference in the future.”

LCEF also awarded a generous grant that was hugely beneficial in making this retreat happen. Those funds offset some of the expenses and kept registration fees low.

Speakers Arleen Keyne and Katrina Barnes provided encouragement for the group, reminding the women how to foster healthy relationships and boundaries in homes and ministry. Keyne, MPA (Pastor’s Wife, Widow, and PK), served on District and Synodical Boards, and initiated Pastors’ Wives’ Retreats in the CNH District. Katrina Barnes is a DCE and therapist who was able to speak about strategies for growth and survival.

Elizabeth Lopez is another organizer who had a huge part in the retreat. She was thrilled to help put it together – and even better, to be able to bring in speakers and feature topics that would bless fellow NOW District pastor wives. Afterward, she heard excellent praise from those in attendance.

“Many ladies said, ‘I so appreciated hearing from both speakers. They had so much to share that I can take back and work on,’” Lopez said. “One woman told me, ‘I found a sister in my roommate. I was nervous coming here, but it was such a good weekend.’ Another shared, ‘I had been looking for fellowship like I had experienced in a different organization. I never thought I would find it this weekend.’”

If you know a pastor wife – or if you are one yourself – get connected to this group! There will be many more opportunities for fellowship in the future. Join the NOW Pastors’ Wives Facebook group or email Michele Sprengle.

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