On Saturday 14th March we held a day of teaching for ladies around the topic of Loss and Hope. We began with a lovely time of worship led by Holly Lovegrove with Sarah Muir and Adrian Lovegrove. They led us again in the afternoon.
In the morning our keynote speaker was Katherine Gantlett, an amazing young woman who has experienced tremendous loss but has found the grace of God and hope for the future through it all. She taught us all through the story of Joshua, who visited the Promised Land as one of the spies, but had to wait for forty years before he finally led the children of Israel in to take the land. She had found a number of parallels in her own life with Joshua’s story and as she taught, she was able to share her own experiences throughout the morning. Many of us found her story deeply moving and were profoundly impacted by her message of hope and promise.
Following a ploughman’s lunch there was a choice of activities in the afternoon.
Nicola Symes came from Southampton to train us in how to help people who had experienced loss or bereavement. So many of us feel inadequate when confronted with someone experiencing great loss and yet it is a time when we can truly bring the love of God to others. Nicola’s workshop was very helpful and encouraged us to be proactive in our approach to others.
Marg Kilgour led an art workshop and encouraged people to find a way of expressing themselves and their emotions through art. Bethan Venn took a group into the world of creative journaling through two different activities. It was amazing in the final session to have some of them sharing how God had been speaking to them during the session. These are just some of the examples of creative journaling from the day;
Claire Guiver led a small group of psalm writers. First she taught them about the Psalms and how they express different emotions and then encouraged the group to use their own writing as a heart cry to God. This beautiful Psalm was written by Helen Hassall and she very kindly shared it with us;
From a place of loneliness I called to You The Father of All Nations.
I called but did not hear Your response.
I was surrounded on every side, yet they did not see me.
I sort to find myself in their midst, but my source was not there.
I fought to be one of them but felt no joy.
What had I forgotten.
I had forgotten my source.
I searched but could not find it!
But, You Lord where waiting.
Waiting for me to stop.
To take the time to listen.
To hear the still small voice.
To be reminded that I was not alone, but I was being held.
Held in Your hand.
That I am.
I am your Child,
The apple of Your eye,
The delight of Your heart.
Now let me sing Your Praises!
Let my ears always hear the Mighty, Powerful, Still Small Voice.
Whispering the eternal cry.
I love you my child.
We finished the day with a review of what the different groups had been doing and a time of worship and prayer. Everyone went home very blessed.