The staff of Trinity Center would like to share a letter we received recently written by a guest who attended their parish retreat. This is why we serve…
2013 Parish Beach Weekend, Trinity Center
If you have never been to the Parish Beach Weekend at Trinity Center, you are missing out on a fabulous weekend of fun, relaxation and spirituality that is unsurpassed! It was a weekend full of surprises!
The first surprise was upon arrival. When I asked Carmen Guzman for a copy of the agenda, she said the only agenda was breakfast at 8, lunch at 12 and dinner at 6! That’s my kind of agenda, I’m telling you. There were 40 of us, all nestled into rooms in pods deep within the maritime forest that is Trinity Center. We could gather (or not) in the common room allotted to us by the staff to socialize, eat, drink and work puzzles to our hearts’ content. This quickly became the nerve center of our group. There were at least 15 liters of wine and snacks that would have done a reception in the Kyle House proud! As we drifted away that night to the sounds of the maritime forest, several puzzle fanatics remained at their task until morning, proudly announcing that they had finished at about 5 a.m. (and promptly began another one!)
The next surprise came when Saturday morning dawned crystal clear, a day just made for the beach! We wandered through the tunnel, keeping a sharp eye out for the snakes that have been known to show up there, toward a Carolina blue sky and emerald green ocean. Children and adults got into the water in varying degrees of speed, some diving right in and others inching their way out past the few breakers. Saturday night, after dinner, we headed to the campfire site to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Fred played the guitar, and we sang songs dredged up from the 60s and camp days long past.
Surprisingly, meals became a special time as it gave me the opportunity to share the fellowship of parishioners who I have seen in church for years, but didn’t necessarily know. Learning not only the names, but the “history” of these families has given me a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the diversity of our parish family as a whole. The camaraderie between those from age 5 to 65 was wonderful to behold! Sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch after meals was a time for quiet reflection, building friendships or strengthening friendships already made.
On Sunday morning at 10:30, we gathered in the meeting room to begin the quiet walk to Sanders Point. Led down the path by Father Robert, garbed in his clerical collar with his Trinity Center t-shirt, the sandy path gave way to a view breathtaking in its sheer beauty. There on the point, you could see all of Bogue Sound – the backdrop for a stone altar and driftwood cross, startling and moving in their simplicity. The music, while a far cry from “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” (which they were singing back home), was absolutely perfect for the locale and the voices of the choir members and others soaring out over the Sound moved many of us to tears by its sheer joyousness. The words in the BCP “when two or three are gathered in my name, I will be in the midst of them” came alive at that moment! It was impossible in this moment, in this space, not to feel the presence of Christ in our midst and in our hearts. It was one of the most moving moments of my life. It also made me so grateful to be a member of a parish that can celebrate Christ in all the splendor of the trappings of Episcopal Church, as well as in simple driftwood cross crafted by Nature, commanded by a loving God.
On Saturday night as we sang “Kum-Ba-Yah, My Lord” (Come By Here, My Lord), I thought what a fitting theme song for Trinity Center. During the service on Sunday, I changed my mind, for the Lord is already at Trinity Center! A more fitting song would be the one we sang on that spectacular morning, “Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?” The last verse is “Have you ever stood in the family, with the Lord there in your midst, Seen the face of Christ on your neighbor? Then I say, You’ve seen Jesus my Lord”.
Jesus Lives! And he lives at Trinity Center!