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WELCA of Grand Canyon Synod Fall Retreat


2022 Fall Retreat for the Women of the Grand Canyon Synod

Friday, Oct. 21, 6:00pm - Saturday, Oct. 22, 4:00pm

Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center

7415 E Elbow Bend Rd

Carefree AZ 85377

Scholarship Registration Deadline - September 23

(10 Available)

Registration Deadline - September 30

All registrations and payment must be received on or before Sept. 30.  No refunds after Oct. 7 but registration is transferrable.  Debbie Romboletti is our registrar.  Her email is  Questions about your registration can be addressed to Debbie by email or by cell phone 702-875-2013.  She will maintain a “wait list” if we exceed 90 registrations. 



We’re inviting women to join us for a week-end event focused on Empowering Women…stories that change lives. 

Ephesians 2:10 “We are His work.  He has made us to belong to Christ Jesus so we can work for Him.  He planned that we should do this.”

Expanding on the empowerment theme introduced at the WELCA Cactus Conference in March, our activities will be centered on Dwelling in the Word and then learning about stories and programs that change women’s lives, Biblically, internationally, and here in our own Grand Canyon Synod.  Women’s lives impacted by Peter’s Hope, LSS-SW’s I-Help, Days for Girls, the Navajo Lutheran Mission and our own Latina sisters.  We hope to inspire YOU to empower other women!

We’ll also gather for prayer, music, worship, meditation, and of course, laughter, fun and food!  Our program includes:

  • Chaplain Cyndy Warnier

  • Bible study with Rev. Dr. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni – Zooming directly from Jerusalem

  • Carolyn Tonneson on the Bamburi Women’s Empowerment program in Mombassa, Kenya

  • Music and worship with Pr. Kim Sterner

  • Shari Jones sharing the Days for Girls project

  • Small group discussions learning more about I-Help (a program that empowers women who are homeless), our Navajo sisters in Rock Point, and our Latina sisters here in our Grand Canyon Synod

  • In-Kind gifts to support I-Help

  • Remembering Heidi Gerrish

  • A Friday evening Taize-type of meditation

  • An “afterglow” social event on Friday evening

  • Closing Communion with worship offering

  • Spanish translation if needed

We will be collecting an offering at our closing worship service.  Checks can be made out to Women of the ELCA – GCS.  You can also submit your offering through our website’s “Donate” page and pay by credit card.  50% of the offering will be directed to churchwide WELCA designated for Katie’s Fund; 25% to Peter’s Hope, and 25% to the Grand Canyon Synod’s Growing Generosity Appeal.

In recognition of our deep connection with Heidi Gerrish, a former Grand Canyon Synod Women’s board member who was tragically killed in an auto accident in California in May, we will have a time of remembrance of Heidi on Friday evening.  There will also be an opportunity to contribute to a memorial gift in Heidi’s name through LSS-SW.  Checks should be made out to LSS-SW, noting “in memory of Heidi Gerrish” on the check memo line.

We can also support I-Help by bringing what are called “in-kind” gifts for this program that supports women who are experiencing being homeless.  You might challenge your church’s women’s group to a collection drive in advance of our Retreat.  Items needed include: 

  • Gift Cards to Walmart, Frys, VISA, Uber

  • Non-perishable, individually packaged snacks

  • Bottled water

  • Diapers – adult or baby

  • New women’s socks

  • New underwear, all sizes

  • Hygiene items in travel and full sizes, including deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush

  • New bath towels (white preferred for bleaching purposes)

  • New sheets – twin, full, queen

  • Backpacks

  • New cleaning supplies:  bathroom deodorizing spray, kitchen deodorizing spray, windex, dish soap, laundry detergent, washcloths, paper towels

  • Toilet paper

  • Trash bags

Arrive early on Friday and enjoy leisure activities at Spirit in the Desert, including a meditation labyrinth, a reflective walking path, fountains, and a striking desert landscape. There is also a heated pool and spa.  Come to the “Richard Andersen Gathering Place” for coffee/tea/conversation.  Learn how the Days for Girls project helps keep young women in school by supplying them with reusable menstrual products.  Visit the Prayer Room in the Sunset Chapel.

Nearby recreational opportunities include hiking, horseback riding, biking, museums, eclectic dining and shopping.

Cave Creek Recreation Park (Carefreee Hwy and 32nd) accommodates RVs and is about a 10-minute drive to Spirit’s campus.

All meals are in the Richard Andersen Dining Center at Spirit in the Desert and will be buffet style.  Vegetarian and gluten free are typically available on the buffet.  Our program begins following Friday evening dinner at Spirit in the Desert.

This event is for women of all ages and registration is limited to 90 , with overnight housing available at Spirit in the Desert.  All rooms have comfortable beds, ensuite bathroom, and a private deck.  There are 14 large rooms in the Estrem building, to accommodate 2-4 guests each.  Queen beds are standard.  Many rooms also have a hideaway or space for a rollaway bed.  In the Yackel Lodge, there are six (6) suites, each with two bedrooms and a common living room.  The rooms have either a full-size bed and an extend twin XL, or two twin XLs.  Each living room has a queen sleeper sofa.  There is one suite in Yackel equipped with ADA bathrooms.  This suite will accommodate 4-5 occupants.  There is NO elevator in the Yackel lodge; stairs are on each end of the building.  24 hours coffee/tea available, including water and ice.  Bring your own hair dryer.  Many rooms have mini-fridges.  No TV or radio in rooms.  The new Hampton Inn across the road from Spirit in the Desert in Carefree may also have rooms available.

PLEASE NOTE:  Our Synod Women’s Events are now FRAGRANCE FREE.  We request that you do not wear any perfume/cologne, or use any scented hand or body lotion/body sprays, or essential oils at our events.  Our sisters with asthma and allergies say “thank you!”

Photos of our Retreat events are part of the experience.  All registrants agree to have photos in which they appear published in our GC Synod Women’s Canyon Echoes newsletter and/or on our social media pages.

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