tedNEWS | Zagreb, Croatia [Svjetlana Veble with tedNEWS] | April 5, 2022
Exploring women in the Bible—a fresh perspective
Women enjoy their first in-person retreat since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
For the past two years, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Adriatic Union Conference (AUC) women have met virtually, so it was a particularly joy-filled experience to meet face-to-face again and enjoy the camaraderie of the group. Gathered in Zagreb, Croatia, from March 5-6, 2022, they came to enjoy their fourth annual weekend of spiritual encouragement. With the theme for the weekend, “Praying With the Women in the Bible”, the guest speaker was Karen Holford, Women’s Ministries director for the Trans-European Division (TED), also a renowned writer and family therapist.
As the seminar commenced on Friday afternoon, Holford guided the ladies through a sequence of creative prayers inspired by the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.
On Sabbath morning, Holford delivered a message entitled ´The Gift of Kindness´, pointing out that kind people have a double portion of dehydroepiandrosterone in their bodies, a hormone which slows down the aging process, and 23% less of the stress hormone, cortisol. Holford emphasized that when we are kind to others it reduces the amount of conflict in relationships, and that, in some cases, the effects of kindness can be better than taking medication or undergoing therapy. Additionally, she highlighted that the kindness that we share with others often returns in different ways, bringing us joy and blessings. Kindness flows into our lives from the heart of God, “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
On Sunday, pastor Drago Mojzeš, AUC president, shared his impressions of several significant women who had inspired his life. This followed with Holford guiding participants through the stories of several women from the Bible and linked them to prayers of praise, peace and healing. Although these stories were familiar, Holford found new treasures to share, including the Samaritan women in John chapter 4; Hagar and the God who sees us from Genesis chapters 16 and 21; and the life of Naomi in the book of Ruth. All these stories gave insights into the real-life problems faced by these women and how they resolved their challenges through prayer and faith in God.
Many attendees were particularly impressed by the story of Abigail (1 Samuel 25) and how she dealt wisely and kindly with a challenging conflict. Every person who attended the seminar could clearly see how these women were faithful and how they glorified God by having trust in Him.
A young student who shared, “What a difference it makes when you explore the stories of women in the Bible with a female family therapist, instead of a male theologian.”
The seminar closed with the blessing found in the Book of Numbers 6:25-26, “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” A blessing which was felt by all attendees and who shared their gratitude for the encouragement they received during the seminar.
Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2022 Q2&3