Lutheran Women of the Upper North Zone met for their 48th annual retreat at the end of February, enjoying peaceful surrounds and lovely weather.
Held at Camp Willochra north of Melrose, the theme this year was “Loving is Serving”.
After a short ice-breaker session on the Friday night, camp chaplain Pastor Robin Zadow led the group in a Holy Communion service, reminding them that God loves them so much and asking how do they show love to others?
Over the weekend the theme was brought out with Bible studies, guest speakers and sing-a-longs.
As they found out, towers built with straws need a strong foundation.
Good works they do in response to God's love are done with love on the foundation of faith.
Guest speakers June and Geoff Harrison from Seafarers Mission on Yorke Peninsula go aboard ships that come to Port Giles, providing a wide range of assistance to the seafarers who are often homesick, have a hard and risky job in prisoner-like conditions, fatigued by long working hours, and sometimes not been paid.
If the captain allows them shore leave the Mission takes the crew to their centre where they can relax with a meal, play games, provide phone cards so they can contact their families, take them shopping, visit a farm – whatever they would like to do.
Some just need a hug.
Julie Krause from Australian Lutheran World Service travels to many trouble spots in the world and shared with the gathering how ALWS is helping in various situations.
People in poor countries don't want us to do the work for them, rather give them the training and the means, this brings them dignity.
Always speak to a community to find out what their needs are first.
Camper Katrina Rohrlach spoke of her time spent in Cambodia as part of the Grow Leadership Course she was part of last year.
The group helped with some farm work, and spent time entertaining children with games, hygiene lessons and sharing cultural differences.
Saturday night the group were well entertained by many talented people and a wide variety of items, giving them all a good laugh.
Second-hand items brought along for Containers of Hope were sorted and packed on Sunday morning, after which a Holy communion service was held.
Cook for retreat Chris Grieger capably kept the gathering fed and they thanked him and his 'apprentice' for their time and expertise.
Accomodation was improved with new beds and mattresses, and was much appreciated by all.
After a most uplifting, interesting and joyous time the group said their farewells and departed for home, looking forward to meeting again next year.