Committed and zealous members of Ss Peter & Parish, Sydney, have enjoyed learning the significance of serving the Lord with humility, love and joy at the church’s recently held spiritual retreat.
The annual retreat, held between 15-18 October 2010 at Koloona campsite on the NSW south coast, focused on this year’s theme of how to ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness’ (Psalm 100:2) and opened the faithfuls’ eyes to the mysteries behind Qurbana Qadisha (Holy Eucharist).
Sharing a common purpose of growing closer to God, 36 church members attended the three-night camp to partake in spiritual activities and social fun, beginning with a workshop on the subject of service, organised by the Parish’s Bible study leaders.
But the highlight of the retreat came in a step-by-step educational presentation of Holy Mass, led by Reverend John Kushaba, Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon.
Attendees of the retreat were privileged to witness the entire process of Qurbana Qadisha, from preparations and cooking right through to morning prayers, and were encouraged to ask questions to further their knowledge of the sacrament.
Holy Mass was held for campers on Sunday 17 of October, which coincided with the 34th anniversary of the commemoration of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.
Presenting a sermon on the joy of serving God, Rev. Kushaba paid tribute to His Holiness’ tireless dedication and achievements for the church.
“His Holiness is a true example of serving the Lord with gladness and a great motivator for us all.”
Rev. Kushaba encouraged church members to lead by example in helping with small tasks, forgiving, loving one another and making Christ known to others.
“When you serve God, make your motive to fulfill God’s will and glorify Him – do not serve for your own selfish purposes,” said Rev. Kushaba.
“If you have been trusted with a job in your church, do it well, because if you are faithful with a little then you will be faithful with a lot.”
Throughout the weekend, members studied in interactive groups, growing closer to each other and God while role-playing and learning how to apply Christ’s example of service in using their own talents to build up their church.
While spiritual growth was at the core of the retreat’s purpose, the weekend took a fun, competitive turn when teams were pinned against each other in sporting activities and a games night involving general knowledge and physical challenges.
The secluded campsite, surrounded by 262 acres of natural bushland and two kilometres of waterfront views of the Shoalhaven River, was the ideal location for reflection during free time, during which campers made use of walking tracks and open spaces.
Rev. Kushaba said he was proud of all aspects of the weekend, which enabled church members to fellowship outside of their comfort zone.
“The camp encouraged new members to build friendships on a deeper level and revived a commitment from existing church members to serve the Lord with joy.”[nggallery id=94]