Over hot summer days, in the second week of Lent, 35 full-time and 15 day visitors, gathered at the old mud brick Monastery in Stroud to enjoy a time of quiet contemplation, being still and listening to God. Organised by Anglican Women, Newcastle, the two retreats were led by The Rev’d Michelle Hazel-Jawhary, now the Rector of Cessnock.

Her three addresses focussed on the Anglican Women’s theme for the year, “God is Love”. She reminded us that we all have a need for unconditional love – God loves each of us, a love that is not subject to “if…” or “when…”. As Paul wrote in Romans 8, “I am convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God…”. Love demands unconditional trust, which in turn leads to surrender, a surrender not out of fear, but out of our love for God. She shared with us a beautiful “Love Letter from God” – in Scripture we read just so many times that God loves us!

As we made this spiritual journey together, we grew closer as a community, united in our love of God and of each other.

The Annual Anglican Women’s Service will this year be held on Tuesday June 7, at St Peter’s East Maitland, commencing at 9.30 am with Morning Tea, and 10 am Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Greg Thompson.

The Guest Speaker will be the Rev’d Fiona Bergstrom, of Umina, a retired American priest who has had a wide variety of ministry experience in various parts of the world. Following a BYO lunch, there will be a musical programme provided by students of the Hunter Valley Grammar School, finishing at 2.30pm. All welcome!

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