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Life's Celebrations: 2021 Emmanuel Woman's Retreat

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

In the Appalachian Mountain Range, near the town of Black Mountain, N. C., at Mount Allen sits Cragmont Assembly, the OFWB Retreat Center, where during this special Emmanuel retreat weekend, over 60 women along with a few husbands and children gathered. This group experienced a great time of fellowship, inspiring messages, music and singing, morning and evening devotions, delicious food, and even enjoyed themed table decorations celebrating our three areas of study: Miracles, Blessings, Opportunities, and much more.

The Emmanuel Woman’s Retreat 2021 was directed by Dianne Riley-Gray. Devotional speakers were Joy Woodard, Gina Barbour, and Kathy Markuson, who uplifted our hearts with their Biblical and personal insight on Miracles, Blessings, and Opportunities sealing within us that God is still on the throne. (Psalms 66:5—come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man’s behalf!) We need only to seek and trust Him.

Mini object lessons that we called “Sparkles” were given by Becky Sumner (who affectionately became known as Sparkle) throughout the day and night as reminders for us to celebrate all that God has given us: Miracles, Blessings, and Opportunities! We used real sparklers Saturday night to celebrate the culmination of study in these three areas.

Talk about a heavenly choir—we experienced a taste of it as Songs of Praise and Adoration rang out of the Chapel and over the mountains. Virginia Skinner, pianist, Angela Warren, music director, and other special soloists and groups shared their God-given talents by leading us as we sang varied styles of Christian music dedicated to our Lord and carrying out the theme from each speaker; they inspired us all. God was glorified and praised; hearts were touched.

Over the weekend, we heard from Matthew Daughtry-Grubbs, Director, about the work at Cragmont Assembly; met Jessica Sellars, who is at UMO and will be working with all of us OFWB’s in the coming days; Sandra Jones, in her native dress from India, brought us up-to-date on OFWB International (Foreign Missions) with posters, information, and names of all mission points on the tables for dinner that evening.

The Cragmont Dining Staff worked closely with us to have meals that complemented our topics, such as a Thanksgiving lunch on Saturday as well as table decorations reminding us of specific Blessings we have enjoyed. Saturday night’s dinner of Fajitas represented our missions in Mexico. Refreshments also were on topic with a Baby Reception Friday night with cookies in Blue and Pink to remind us of the miracles of life. Saturday’s late-night dessert with fruit and other foods I can’t pronounce… represented the Philippines and other mission countries, reminding us of where there are opportunities to help. Tables with items to make a Care Bag were set up so every group went home with an example of something they could put together to give to the homeless wherever they might encounter them. We were reminded over and over of how God has blessed us.

We enjoyed receiving “door prizes” supplied by the University of Mount Olive, The Children’s Home, Cragmont, Foreign Missions, and The NC Foundation for Christian Ministries.

Even as we wore our masks, sat with our travel group, kept our distance, and washed our hands…we had a great weekend.

Submitted by Dianne Riley-Gray

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