ELSAH -- In their 30 years of ministry in the Navy chaplaincy, Bob and Christy Phillips led numerous marriage retreats for couples (and single spouses where the partner could not be present). The intense commitments and total claims of the military parallel the realities of marriage for those in ministry. This weekend marriage self-care retreat is the product of facing the challenges, realities and possibilities of being married and in ministry. The dates are Thursday, March 1, beginning with supper and concludes with lunch on Saturday, March 3.
The location is Elsah, nestled under the bluffs of the Mississippi River near Alton, and one of the few villages where all the homes are on the National Historic Registry. Participants will stay in two delightful B&B's located in the village.
The sessions are framed around the notion of 'underway replenishment,' a term describing how ships at sea are resupplied in order to go the distance in completing their mission. Pastors and spouses likewise need spiritual and emotional replenishment but find the demands of job and family often make it impossible to take extended time away to regroup. This retreat is for you.
Participants will find a mix of focused presentations, worship, good food, conversation and free time. Many retreats tend to be packed with events, leaving no time for reflection, relaxation or just catching up on sleep. This is not one of those. While there will be some open conversation, there will be neither expectation nor pressure to share personal details or struggles with the larger group. Sample topics will include "Here am I...send us?" "Barnacles on the hull of marriage and ministry bliss;" "Charting a course in ministry and marriage to...where?" In addition, registrants will be invited to submit issues/questions they hope would be addressed in the time together.
Couples in any season of life are welcome, whether fresh in ministry or not-so-fresh. Clergy whose spouses cannot attend due to work or other commitments are encouraged to attend also; you may be asked to share a room with a colleague in the same situation.
Bob retired July 1 from Peoria First UMC, and retired in 2005 as the senior United Methodist chaplain in the US Navy. Christy, ordained in the American Baptist Convention and a graduate of Princeton seminary (where they met) has been a pastor, interim pastor, pastor's wife, mother to four and grandmother to five, and actively participated in chaplains' spouse groups in numerous of the 20+ places they have lived.