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A Journey Into the Depths of Wisdom

Thoughts from Emmanuel 2022

What is the most valuable asset a person can have? (Proverbs 3:15) “WISDOM” and were

we ever “Empowered by Godly Wisdom” at our 2022 Emmanuel Retreat. However, someone later shared, that it became “A Journey into the depths of Wisdom.” From the time the Big Porch Owl greeted us at the entrance of the Chapel till we concluded with “Because He Lives”… it was truly a journey into the depths of Wisdom in every session.

Once inside the chapel a beautiful white unblemished Owl (sitting with the cross and Bible on the communion table) followed our every thought; the Owl on our name badge traveled each

step with us; the huge blue-grayish Owl (that adorned our folder) kept all our schedules, music, and notes together laid on our chair; the hand-made Owl bags that held “Words of Wisdom” as we ate each meal discussing their meaning with new and old friends and observing other Owl bags holding door prizes which offered us reading or just items for enjoyment from the University of Mount Olive, Cragmont, FWB Children’s Home, NC Foundation for Christian Ministries, FWB Press/Cross & Crown, and Anita’s Marketing.

Each session had Wisdom Melodies, some we knew, some we didn’t. Friday night’s melodies were led by Susan and Dawn from Robert’s Grove. Friday night also offered us the Wisdom of making new friends led by Joy Woodard. Matt welcomed us, gave us a Cragmont update, and led us in singing the “Cragmont Song.” Our Wisdom devotions for each session were led by Kathy Markuson; on Friday night we received “Mints of Wisdom,” where we enjoyed the Physical and the Spiritual Mints. Our “Conversations about Wisdom” were led each night by Becky Jo Sumner creating pictures in our minds of biblical personalities who demonstrated the epitome of being “Empowered by Godly Wisdom” and causing us to really THINK. Judith Kennedy led us over and over during the weekend “by” and “into” Prayerful Wisdom.

Refreshments took on a different meaning during this retreat….yes, we were “Empowered by Wisdom” with sisters, Jennifer Johnson and Hy Gardner teaching us much about what we might want to consider eating instead of cookies, candy, pies, and cakes. They even showed us (using a measuring cup) how much sugar is in what we drink and eat. We even saw what five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle looks like...trying some of their substitutes, was all good, but some of us still had to have “Key Lime Pie” the next day. The girls also reminded us of the Wisdom of Moving with exercises and walking each morning at 6:30. We had 11 faithful souls with ages ranging from 14–77 who did this; we were very proud of our youngest, an eighth grader, and our oldest a grandmother of three.

Saturday morning after exercise, breakfast, and group picture, Kathy also had a “Bit o’ Wisdom” for our devotion; so we would not forget, she gave us “Bit O’Honey” candy. We also had more Melodies of Wisdom led by Crystal Gray. She introduced to us “Honey in the Rock” which was new to many in our group and later led us in “Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone.” Mrs. Virginia Skinner also surprised everyone with a beautiful, heartfelt solo, “We Are an Offering” (she is always the quiet one who plays and makes us all sound good). All of our Wisdom Melodies went right along with our speaker, Linda Barbour’s morning sessions, “the Wisdom of Living, the Wisdom of Giving, and the Wisdom of Loving” sharing many scriptures and examples. The Wisdom of a free Saturday Afternoon led many on trips to purchase things; see things, taste things and trips back to “our” room for a nap as the rain began to fall and the thunder and lightning echoed around the mountain.

Saturday evening brought our first attempt for an “Emmanuel Homecoming” with dinner (Pot Roast, the trimmings, and that wonderful Key Lime Pie) and a worship service with lots of singing and spiritual messages. Wisdom Melodies that evening came from Sharlene Scott, Sande Brown, Stumpy Quinn’s group, Ashlyn Hogg, Sharon Dilley, Ms. Virginia on the piano, and Amy Kornegay who showed us the” Wisdom of playing a box” as she shared a song for us, “hey folks, she will be back.” Kathy taught us about “Gems” of Wisdom giving each of us an organza bag with our very own gems. Sandra Jones shared an update on Missions inviting some of our group, who had been on mission trips, to stand. Some shared their experiences which were followed by an offering of over

$2,000 collected while Susan Faircloth shared the song “People Need the Lord.” Becky Jo

shared again “Conversations of Wisdom.” Her subject: Two Women, One Baby (1 Kings 3:16–28) was so thought-provoking—we will never look at that story in the same way again. After this message, more music filled the air. Each woman at the retreat received a Silhouette with a string for hanging. We were reminded of the Wisdom that we have received from Women in our lives. We had the opportunity to write the names of these women who had been an example to us of Godly Wisdom on these Silhouettes and honor each by hanging them on a tree while we listened to the song “What if Someone Had Not Shared?” Candy kisses were available to give to someone present (within the group) who had been a blessing to us; this was so encouraging. It was a quiet, thought-provoking moment to remember the ones who had brought us to where we are in our “Living with Wisdom.” Many songs of Praise and Worship followed, reminding us to have thankfulness to our Awesome God.

Sunday came much too soon; after exercise and breakfast, we made our way back to the chapel with Wisdom Melodies including songs that we had sung in Sunday School, Church, and at Cragmont…including our retreat theme songs of “Emmanuel” and “Our God is an Awesome God.” Matt offered our Invocation and then we sang “God on the Mountain” as our offering for Cragmont was taken (over $2,000 was given for the work of Cragmont). Kathy followed with her “Time in the Word brings Wisdom” devotion, giving each person an hourglass (or timer as many people called it), but a definite reminder of how much or how little of our time is spent in God’s Word. A Responsive Reading followed reminding us of Women in the Scriptures and Christian Women in our lives today for whom we can rejoice in their commitment, their bold witness, and their grace. May we listen, learn, and be “Empowered by their Godly Wisdom.”

A time of “Sharing Wisdom” followed—people, events, and especially time spent at Cragmont were remembered. It was a beautiful, spirit-filled time, followed by a few moments of personal meditation wrapped in the song “Perfect Wisdom.”

Judith brought our weekend to a close with Prayerful Wisdom and we concluded by singing with all the joy and thanksgiving that we could…

“Because He Lives”

Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives all fear is gone,

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living


We picked up our retreat gift “Empowered by Godly Wisdom” (car-cup holder) coaster as a reminder and traveling with us until we meet again, August 4–6, 2023, at the next Emmanuel Retreat Join us—God will truly bless you!

Thoughts from two first-timers from Tee’s Chapel:

“The 2022 Emmanuel Women’s retreat at Cragmont was such an uplifting experience. My daughter joined me with our church group for the weekend. She was a hesitant participant worried about fitting in at her age, but we were both surprised at the various age groups in attendance and the amount of inclusion we felt the entire weekend. Spending time with our group of ladies from our church and getting to know new people from other sister churches was very nice. The speakers during the weekend were inspiring and relevant to all age groups. We especially loved the mix of traditional and contemporary music. We so much enjoyed the atmosphere, the facilities, the lodgings, the food, and the fellowship throughout the weekend. We will definitely hope to be attending next year!” —Elizabeth Lawhon

“Growing up I attended camp and was a counselor for several years after graduating, but I had never attended one of the Women's conferences. I had the privilege of attending with my mom, mema, aunt, and cousin. What a blessing it was to be surrounded by women of faith from all ages. As someone who is in her 20s, it was such a blessing to hear the testimonies of some of the others there. Little did I know that this would also be the weekend that my now fiancé would drive up to surprise me after our morning session on Saturday to propose. This will be a weekend that I never forget for many reasons. Cragmont has always been special to me and with every visit comes new memories and growth in my walk with the Lord.” —Peyton Overbee

Retreat Statistics…

We had 90 participants from the following churches and districts:

Albemarle: Hickory Chapel, Mr. Tabor

Cape Fear: Bethel, Goldsboro, Robert’s Grove, St. Mary’s Grove, Tee’s Chapel

Central: Elm Grove, Greenville, Kings Cross Roads, Ormondsville,

Eastern: Beulaville, Core Creek, Lanier’s Chapel, Macedonia, Sandy Plain, Sarecta, Saints Delight, Soundview, Wintergreen, and White Oak Grove

Pee Dee: Beaverdam

Western: Flood’s Chapel, New Sandy Hill, Rains Cross Roads, Rock Springs, Stoney Creek, Union Grove

Offerings: A total of over $4,000 was received for Cragmont and OFWB International (Foreign Missions)

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