Clergy Wives Retreat 2013
The retreat was held on 25th - 26th April 2013 at Hlalanathi, 198 Marcom Road, Pietermaritzburg. The retreat conductor was Bishop Dr. S. Mzamane and the theme was The Grace of Being a Clergy Wife.
The Bishop welcomed us from town to the Centre. During evensong the Bishop gave his first address; the readings were from Ezekiel 1:4-14 and 2 Timothy 4:1-11.
The Bishop highlighted that it is really a sign of grace to be a clergy wife, but with it goes the challenge, among others, of not being loved (or even of being hated). He said we must be thankful though; the most important thing is to ask God to show us how to help our husbands as we are the only ones who really know their strengths and weaknesses.
On the second day we started with meditation at 6 a.m., followed by the Eucharist. The readings were Acts 13: 26-33, John 14:1-7 and Psalm 2. The Bishop opened by saying a clergy wife is supposed to be saved; she must know Jesus as the saviour. She is the one who links her family to God in prayer. Never the less, the salvation must not give us spiritual pride. People must not fear us, especially our husbands and children. We must have a good personal relationship with people at church, in the communities we live in, and at work. He went on to say we must be the hope of every guild or everyone in church. Member of the Sunday school, GBFS, Mary Magdalene, AWF, MU, St. Bernard Mizeki, and Lay Ministers need to be mothered by us. We were urged to trust our husbands and to talk to them when they have done something wrong or spoken rudely to people.
In the third address the question was how do we handle loneliness as Priests Wives. John 14:1 says "Do not let your heart be troubled." We were given time to look into ourselves (INSIDE THE BOX). We took an hour doing introspection, asking God to fill the loneliness in our hearts, asking Him to give us th desires in our hearts. Then we came back and prayed, thanking God for the deliverance in our lives.
We then had thirty minutes to pray for our children, husbands and families (OUTSIDE THE BOX). Thereafter we had a good time worshipping God in the way we thought He wanted us to. We praised Him singing glorious songs. We had intimate time with our God. He allowed us to cry before Him, telling Him who He is. That was the most wonderful time we had ever received, for the book of Psalms 40:1 says if we wait patiently for the Lord, He will turn to us and hear our cry. We thank the Bishop for allowing us such a wonderful time.
We were then given time to rest, meditate on what was said during the day. We also shared what we had heard and our experiences. The Bishop gave us time to consult him with our problems. We came back together for the round-up, where the bishop talked about the motto of our association "Share Joy and Pain".
The evensong theme was about prayer life and the expectant reception of the Holy Eucharist. The Bishop warned us about what the Eucharist is and how it becomes holy. He put emphasis on the holiness of the Holy Eucharist. The evensong readings were Exodus 34: 18-35, Luke 7: 1-17 and Psalm 108.
John 14:1 say trust in God; the heart that pains leads to old age. Devastation is the opportunity to come closer to God. The bishop urged us not to stop praying; we should have special time of prayer, and have lists to pray for other people. There was further teaching about the Holy Eucharist and he promised deeper teaching when we can make time for it.
In summary he said that we are blessed to be priests' wives, but we also have responsibilities. We can be their first people to share their problems and challenges. We are the leaders of communities where we live. We need to pray for epiphany; Transcended God, the one who reveals himself as Jesus (Hymn 63). He clothed himself with human clothing; clothing of divine being. We have the responsibility to reveal who God is to the people.
SIPHUME SIYOBA NGUMLUMISO