A Message from Jennifer

July 12th, 2017

Dear Friends, 

Eighty-six COHI members traveled to Trinity University in San Antonio, TX for this year’s annual conference.

Although dorm-style living had its challenges as you might imagine (!), the sessions with our key note speakers, The Rev. Steven Peay, PhD, and Sr. Carol Perry were highly rated by attendees. Fr. Steven treated us to his great enthusiasm, sense of humor, knowledge, and wisdom as he taught us Benedict’s “way of the expanding heart.” Sr. Carol brings the Bible to life each time she is with us and we find that we could listen to her talk all day if we had the chance. This year she kept us spellbound as she focused on Moses, Matthew, and Lydia who each experienced unexpected change. She reminded us to be ready for change, to see where it can take us as “Always We Begin Again,” which was the conference theme.

We were also blessed by the workshop sessions and our worship times which began with Opening Eucharist and included a Taize service and our closing Blessing of the Hands service. Our friends at Morningside Ministries taped The Rev. Dr. Helen Appelberg’s workshop on the beginning and history of COHI. Everyone who attended was totally inspired by her words and wanted to continue spending time with her throughout the remainder of the conference.

Br. Michael Gallagher led our workshop on “Living Into Benedictine Spirituality” and encouraged us to live intentionally and establish a rhythm in our lives. As one attendee put it, “This back to our roots presentation was a gentle but firm nudge of accountability to each of us to not only model but live our lives in accordance with the Rule we study to attain balance in our days.” Fr. Peter Funk was informative and compassionate as he gave us much to reflect upon in his workshop on reconciliation and accommodated lots of questions and discussion. Maria Wellisch shared her expertise (what to expect and many do’s and don’ts) in approaching and dealing with dementia patients when in a caregiving situation.

The conference was a full 2-1/2 days of reflection and renewal for all who attended as well as a time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. All regions from across the country were represented with several attendees coming from new centers, including churches in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Everyone had a fun time with this year’s raffle and loved seeing the unique items shared by the regions in their baskets. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the raffle! Another highlight was that the Heritage West region volunteered to partner with the COHI effort in Malawi. Thank you, Heritage West!

Click here to see our conference photos!