Massanetta's Second Clergy Couples Conference was a Huge Success!
The importance of an event like "Called Together: A Retreat for Married Couples in Professional Ministry," may not be obvious to those who are not part of a clergy couple. There is certainly much joy in being married to someone who not only understands, but shares their partner's call to ministry and professional demands. There are also many challenges for two pastor families. Just for a second, think about the responsibilities of your pastor. There are the evening meetings, late night hospital visits, preparing for and teaching classes, moderating and helping church leadership address the spiritual and practical needs of the congregation, and of course, the Sunday sermon comes around every seven days. If you think of all that and more, multiply it by two, and put it in the same household where there is an equally strong calling to family, perhaps the need for such an event becomes more apparent. For the last two summers, it has been Massanetta Springs' privilege to provide an event focused on renewal, relationships, and resources for two pastor families.
So, what happens when clergy couples and their families from eleven states and four denominations get together? The first answer is A LOT. There was time for learning, sharing, worship, Sabbath, singing, laughter, play, a date night for the adults while the kids enjoyed a movie night, and more. Marriages and ministries were strengthened at Called Together through sessions with our Chaplain Couple, Fred Lyon and Jan Edmiston. Focused time to think about "The Hats We Wear," as clergy, spouses, family members, and many other roles was provided by our Resource Leader, Martha Spong. Brad Barnett helped couples think about family budgeting and finances in new ways. Janet Newett and the amazing children's program team provided meaningful experiences for our growing group of "Double PK's," so the couples could focus on the retreat and each other.
Among all the planned events, perhaps the most important thing was simply providing the retreat. When asked what their favorite part of the retreat was, similar answers kept popping up. One participant said it was, "the support from other clergy couples, and hearing that we are 'normal.' Another commented, "knowing we're not alone in this and that what we are go through is not unusual [for clergy couples.] The importance of time away for Sabbath and a space to gather with other couples who "get it," seemed to be on the top of everyone's mind when asked what was most beneficial about the retreat.
Massanetta Springs would like to thank the planning team and leadership for making this year's Called Together happen. We also extend our sincere appreciation to The Synod of the Mid-Atlantic for their support through a Presbytery Initiative Grant, and Thrivent Financial for a grant which helped cover the cost of our children's program supplies.
Called Together will return August 5 - 8, 2019, and we look forward to another wonderful retreat.
If you or your congregation would like to help sponsor Called Together, or another Massanetta Event, please be in touch with Rev. Clayton Rascoe, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-434-3829.