Women's Retreat Working Group members

The Women's Retreat Working Group is under the care of the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee. It functions to provide support and advice to the organizers of the next Women's Retreat.

In addition to these pages, the Women's Retreat maintains an independent website of its own. The BYM Women's Retreat website is available here. It contains photographs, a discussions list, and other information about past Retreats as well as news and plans for the next upcoming Retreat.

Listed below are the current members of the Working Group.

, Clerk

2020 Coordinating Meeting: Friends Meeting of Washington
Deborah "Debby" Churchman
Friends Meeting of Washington
Inga Erickson
Herndon Friends Meeting
Bette Hoover
Sandy Spring Friends Meeting
Martha Solt
Friends Meeting of Washington
Elizabeth "Betsy" Tobin
Frederick Friends Meeting

Women's Retreat Working Group Annual Reports

BYM Women’s Retreat Status Update

When we left the Women's Retreat at the end of January, having spent the weekend singing, relaxing, eating, learning, growing, and worshiping together, no Monthly Meeting had stepped forward to become the Planning Committee for the retreat for 2019, as has always been the custom. So for 2019, we are in need of either a Meeting to step forward, or for a new paradigm.

The Women's Retreat is part of the structure of BYM. We come under BYM's Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee. A Working Group of several women are the longer-term connection between the annually rotating Planning Committee and the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee, with Melanie Gifford (Adelphi) as our current liaison. The Working Group consists of Carol Beigel (Adelphi), Helen Tasker (Frederick), and Betsy Tobin (Frederick). Helen is rotating off the Working Group this year, and Bette Hoover (Sandy Spring) and Inga Erickson (Herndon) are joining the Working Group. It is our role to ensure that the Women's Retreat continues, but it is not our role to become the Planning Committee.

Planning the retreat is a gift of service to all of the other women in the Yearly Meeting; one that can bring the planners into deeper relationship with each other, and celebrate our diverse gifts. Some of us are big-picture people, eager for the theme and speaker. Some are networkers who happily organize the workshops. Some sink in to the perfect wording for queries. Some are the nuts and bolts folks who tackle registration with ease. Much of the retreat is a boilerplate of things that happen every year in more or less the same way. The location has been chosen and the dates set. There are already flyers ready for directions, maps, worship sharing guidelines, food needs, and a schedule that doesn't vary too much from year to year. The BYM office helps with online registration.

Independent of the Working Group, Carol Beigel and Betsy Tobin have felt called to step forward and be resources to a Planning Committee for 2019. Carol is our liaison with Pearlstone and is a dynamo at the registration and nuts-and-bolts part, and Betsy also has robust planning skills. They are in need of some teams of women, maybe individuals or a few people from smaller Meetings, who are feeling called to help continue the Women's Retreat.  If you are part of a small Meeting, or one of just a few women from your Meeting who attend, this is your year!! Will you be a part of the retreat planning by taking on one aspect of the retreat? Which of these topics fit in with your talents and gifts? Please consider gathering a few women and taking on a small part.

  • Come together and decide on a theme and speaker(s)
  • Organize workshops
  • Create queries for worship sharing
  • Help Carol with registration details
  • Social Media and communication
  • Staff registration at the retreat, hang up signs, put out sign-up sheets for workshops

If you are interested, please reach out to Carol Beigel at thecarolb@verizon.net and Betsy Tobin at tobinbg@make-peace.org and let them know how you'd like to help. Please reach out as soon as possible, and no later than April 1st.

Final thoughts:

"As a young mother, I had very little extra to give; the Women's Retreat was a lifeline and necessary balm that kept me going throughout the year. After many years of attending, I finally had the room in my life to want to give back some small bit of the huge amount that Women's Retreat had given me over the years. Planning the retreat with my Meeting was a deep calling for me, and about 8-10 of us banded together to make it happen. It was deeply enriching for us all." -Inga Erickson, Herndon Friends

We have heard others say that the Women's Retreat is what has kept them involved in Quakerism for so many years. Teens and young women often don't attend their local Meeting, and it is the camping program, YF-Cons, and Women's Retreat that keeps them in the fold. The BYM Women's Retreat is a vital ministry to over 150 women each year. Is this your year to be inspired to give back?

With hope,

Carol, Bette, Inga, Helen, Betsy, and Melanie (liaison)

The Women's Retreat Working Group

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