Mennonite Women USA/Laurelville Mennonite Church Center
Meghan Good to address Mennonite Women at biennial retreats
Pastor will explore Hosea narrative at Laurelville & CrossWind gatherings
MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa., and HESSTON, Kan.—Pastor Meghan Good of Albany (Ore.) Mennonite Church will explore the Old Testament book of Hosea during two Women in Conversation events, set for April 13-15 at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., and April 27-29 at CrossWind, Hesston, Kan.
A graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Ma., who earned her Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., Good was installed as pastor Albany Mennonite Church in August 2009.
A gathering such as Women in Conversation feels like an excellent fit for Good. “I think it’s always a gift to find the questions we’re asking aren’t ours alone,” she says. “The challenges we’re facing and the joys we’re experiencing are part of a bigger picture of people in different contexts and different walks of life.”
“I think of [events like Women in Conversation] as a chance to get that broader perspective and also to rekindle some sparks to bring back to our communities.”
Women in Conversation retreats—now a mainstay for Mennonite Women USA—grew out of a joint effort between Laurelville and then bi-national Mennonite Women in 1999; they have been hosted biennially at Laurelville and in Hesston, Kan., since 2002.
“[The retreats] represent an opportunity for women in all stages of life to find common ground along their journey,” explains Angela Dietzel, program director at Laurelville.
Retreats typically feature input from a keynote speaker as well as time for worship, workshops and recreation activities. But as Dietzel points out, the events’ hallmark—the conversation circle—is what secures a sacred space for women to pursue added depth and meaning throughout the weekend.
“[Participants] may begin as strangers, but through intentional conversation and dialogue that happens in these circles, they often leave feeling like sisters and friends.”
For her part, the keynote speaker provides insight as well as a framework for the conversation circles. Good’s focus—Into the Wilderness: The Journey of God’s Beloved, a theme adapted from the narrative embedded in Hosea—should provide ample material for conversation throughout the weekend and beyond.
“Meghan has an unusual ability to bring practical reality to abstract ideas,” says Rhoda Keener, co-executive director of Mennonite Women USA. “I am looking forward to the wisdom she will bring to what it means to journey into the wilderness as God’s beloved.”
Keener’s colleague and fellow Mennonite Women USA co-executive director, Ruth Lapp Guengerich, echoes this level of enthusiasm. “She embodies a spiritual depth with youthful energy that engages women of all ages,” she says of Good. “As we have held worship planning meetings for these weekends, I have heard Meghan’s passion for Scripture, for sharing the good news that is relevant for all women, and an understanding that will both stretch our minds and engage our hearts for a weekend of creative renewal.”
Good will serve as keynote speaker at both retreats this spring. Music and worship will be led at the Laurelville retreat by Carmen Miller and Janet Hostetter and by Tonya Bartel at the Hesston retreat. To sign up for or learn more about the retreats, go to www.laurelville.org/women-in-conversation or call 800 839-1021.
You can also listen to a Beyond Laurelville Podcast interview with Meghan Good in which she discusses the congregation where she pastors, her interest in Hosea and her upcoming speaking engagements by visiting www.laurelville.org/meghan-good-conversation.
Contact Brian Paff, Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, 724 691-2668.