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Seminar and retreat for Central American deaconesses

April 4, 2018 No Comment

by Deaconess Olga Preisz Groh

CHINANDEGA, Nicaragua – The fourth deaconess seminar/retreat focusing on Deaconesses and Life Together (Vida Diaconal en Comunidad: Adorando, Trabajando, Estudiando, Alimentándonos, Orando y Escuchando Juntas) took place from January 15 to 19, 2018 at Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Mission Centre gathering 30-plus deaconesses and instructors of the faith from Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua’s (ILSN) congregations and missions in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Especially designed to strengthen the spiritual life of the ILSN’s sisters, the series of Vida en Comunidad week-long seminars is part of LCC’s continuing education program in Nicaragua and Central America missions.

The seminar/retreat’s format gives multiple opportunities each day and throughout the week for the participants to come together in prayer, singing, serving one another, studying together, sharing the meals and resting times, while providing the space and occasion for worshipping together using the Eucharistic liturgies and Daily Prayer Offices. Thematic workshops, Bible studies and different dynamics seek to embrace and make alive what living as the community of God’s grace means. The events build and strengthen the participants in their personal and communal life of worship and in their diaconal service to their children and families, and to their congregations and communities.

The intensive and intentional nature of these retreats also include time for service activities and for fun. Every year, there has been an opportunity to work on a special project: embroidering a baptismal napkin, learning how to take care of the altar and liturgical elements, lead devotionals and liturgical prayers, forming an ILSN deaconess choir, etc. These events provide a tremendous opportunity to help build up the sisters’ sense of vocation and sisterhood as deaconesses of the church and, given the occasion’s numerous worship services, help them learn the new Spanish-language hymnal’s liturgies as well as new hymnody and psalmody.

Under the supervision of LCC’s Committee for Mission and Social Ministry Services and in conjunction with Rev. Dr. David Somers, and Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Deaconess Olga Preisz Groh, a member of Christ Risen Lutheran Church in Kanata, Ont. has led these seminar/retreats since their start in 2014.

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