Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A4D Men’s Weekend
From last Thursday evening until late Sunday afternoon, I was sequestered with over 40 other men at the Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg PA at the Anglican Fourth Day (A4D) Men's Weekend #96. We were either team members or candidates (new term: pilgrims) on a men’s retreat formerly known as Cursillo. I have been on eleven of these weekends since 1987 and I find them to be a great time of fun, fellowship, ministry and spiritual growth in the life of men. These forty men were a diverse lot --older and younger; married and single; white collar and blue collar and they came from 19 different parishes from as far away as Erie. We had seven men on team from St. David’s including the rector and one of the two assistant rectors of the weekend. Three of the eighteen pilgrims were from St. David's as well. And our parish was responsible for the agape meal on Saturday night. Thirteen folks drove to Greensburg to do that ministry. Well done, good and faithful servants!
Probably the greatest joy I experienced was that my son Greg (age 33) attended the weekend. I had been asking him for ten years to attend to no avail but someone else asked him and he said yes! I am so glad he has rediscovered his faith in Jesus Christ these past few months. He has begun to attend church once again, albeit a big-box non-denom church, study the Bible and pray. Many of his fellow school teachers with whom he is closest are Christians so he has an instant support group per se.
Another pilgrim was my former Senior Warden at St. Paul’s Kittanning –now a vestryman at St Andrew’s New Ken. He was another one I encouraged to attend for ten years to no avail. It was a real joy to be with Jim once again.
I almost forgot to mention, as far as worship and music goes --- we had the dream team: Mark Kwolek, Brooks Whipple and John Stanley. They just rocked. I'll never forget singing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun". Even the Archbishop was impressed!
On reflection it was good to get away from all the mess we are in with the TEC diocese at this time, from the problems and challenges of the parish and just from life in general and I can’t think of a better way to do that than one of these weekends,