My name is Marsha Bryan and I have recently joined the staff as the Legacy Advisor for The Endowment Board. Each year, The Endowment Board grants the Board of Pensions (BOP) funds to help retirees cover the financial gap that emerges when Medicare falls short. With the increasing cost of healthcare, this gap is widening. The support our clergy get from The Endowment Board is more crucial than ever to their health, comfort, and security.
As a first-time attendee and clergy spouse, I want to share my reflections on attending the Retired Clergy Association’s annual Spring Fling event. We were welcomed by a gracious team who efficiently checked us in and presented us with our room assignment and goody bag. At the Welcome sign we posed for a photo. Rooms were comfortable, with private baths. The gardens at San Damiano Retreat Center were in full bloom and the smells and beauty of the area made for a welcoming experience.
We began with introductions, music, and – as at any time that United Methodist gather – indulged in a wonderful lunch.
We were blessed with an outstanding conference leader in the presence of Dr. Pam Eisenbaum, an author, lecturer, and professor at Iliff Theological Seminary in Denver, CO. A scholar who has written extensively on the apostle Paul, she offered her perspective on his writing as a Jew and brought a new perspective to our understanding of Paul.
The afternoon offered some free time to walk the beautiful surroundings, take a nap, reconnect with friends, or just be.
Wednesday evening, we gathered before dinner for Communion and a time to remember those who have made their final journey. After dinner we were treated to an Evening of Music by Dr. John Hillebrandt and his wife, both of whom are accomplished musicians.
Thursday brought morning songs and a continued teaching, again by Dr. Eisenbaum, followed by lunch and a farewell until next year. Not only was it a renewal and spiritual blessing, it was a time to be with old friends and to make new ones.
We are blessed to have such an active Retired Clergy Association and to benefit from the work they do on behalf of the retired clergy and their spouses. I encourage you to mark your calendars now to attend the next Spring Fling, April 21-22, 2020 at San Damiano Retreat Center.