Couples for Christ Chennai organised a weekend couple’s retreat based on the scripture,
“As the Father has loved me I have loved you. Abide in My love.” ~ John 15:9
The retreat was held from 23rd September to 25th September 2016, at Dhyana Ashram in Mylapore. Families across Chennai participated in the retreat. In spite of setbacks, illness and apprehensions 16 families set aside this time for God.
Friday evening after a quiet dinner, the pace for the rest of the days were set by a funny action ice breaker game – ‘Strike a pose, shout your name and watch the others follow you‘. This was followed by an introduction of the theme by Chennai’s Chapter servant Kevin Coyne.
Saturday started with learning new songs and the most exciting were the action songs. Everyone swayed for ‘Undignified‘ and screamed ‘Romans 16:19 says‘.
Day one’s talk on God’s love had the simple aim of communicating the truth that God loves us and has a plan for our welfare. The session bore fruit with the personal testimony shared by Sharon and Richie Meyne.
The next talk focused on the fullness of God’s love and how it materialised through Jesus. Vijayanthi and Raj shared their testimony on how they held onto Jesus during their time of personal pain.
The third talk for the day was on ‘Sin‘. Irwin Irudayaraj refreshed our understanding of sin starting with the definitions we learnt as kids during catechism class right up to now, identifying modern day sins that we assume is alright because the world acknowledges it as being alright. This was a good reminder to love the sinner and hate the sin, quoting St. Augustine.
The last talk for the retreat was on Repentance and Faith where Jennifer Irwin focussed on ‘metanoia‘ and the call to stop being lukewarm, instead accept the challenge to repent and believe in Jesus.
Loretta and Sridhar testified that the two day workshop rekindled the journey made, and willed by God, in their family.
Each talk was enriched with a sharing session among participants. They shared their understanding and personal struggles which further helped them to connect with the teachings. Participants Paul and Jincy said, “The one thing we particularly liked was connecting with each other during the small group sharing“.
A meaningful connection between the spouses took place during the session mediated by Kevin and Sheetal on forgiving each other. This broke down many barriers that prevented couples from communicating meaningfully with each other.
While all this took place, close to 20 of the participant’s children were experiencing activities linked to the theme, “Be Bold Be Strong“. They had sessions on parts of the Mass, apparitions of Mother Mary. They also learnt about Guardian Angels and even dressed up in the Armour of God. Their session concluded by presenting a skit and a song for their parents.
The Chennai community ended the day with a choreo on “1000 reasons“. A fitting way to end as the glory belongs to the Lord.
This CLS broke barriers by welcoming families of other denominations and religions. The Lord has increased faith in the hearts of our participants and fulfilled the call to serve in the heart of every community member. As our participant Kathy Gabriel mentioned in a thank you note, “We were pinning for and missed this. Thanks for enabling us to get closer to God in our walk.“
The seminar ended with the truth that we each are called to pursue a relationship that is dynamic, alive and abiding in Christ.