Alaska Women's Retreat Fosters Outreach

This year's annual Alaska Conference Women's Ministries Retreat was held April 2–4 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. More than 162 women attended the meeting, including four 89-year-olds coming for the first time to listen to Elizabeth Talbot, guest speaker, present "At His Feet: Finding Purpose at His Feet, Finding Assurance at His Feet, and Finding Identity at His Feet."

The women enjoyed the opportunity to connect with new and old friends alike. One mentioned she heard about the retreat through a friend. She said, "I have attended several women's ministries retreats now and each have been a blessing. This retreat speaker has touched my life spiritually in a way I have struggled with for all my life. I would like Elizabeth to know that."

The afternoon portion of the retreat focused on two ongoing community mission outreach projects adopted by the conference women's ministries. A variety of items were donated from various Adventist churches to assist up to 100 families at Safe Harbor Inn, a sanctuary where people coming out of a shelter or living on the street can stay while they transition back into the community.

Twenty-six travel-size pillows and pillowcases made by Byrna Botimer of the Palmer Church were donated to St. Elias Specialty Hospital, a 36-bed unit for long-term patients, many of whom have no family to visit them.

Afterward, Alaska Conference women's ministries presented the idea of adopting Safe Harbor Inn and St. Elias Specialty Hospital as outreach projects. However, the directors at both facilities reluctantly told them no faith-based organizations were welcome in their facilities. The directors did, however, suggest members drop off the requested items and in turn receive a tour of the facilities.

The day of the retreat, women divided into groups and went to deliver items to the facilities. They were greeted by directors Kathy Andrews, Safe Harbor Inn, and Marilyn Cooper, St. Elias Specialty Hospital. Not only did they receive a tour, but were given permission to work with the facilities. Plans are for the church to connect with people at each facility every Sabbath in a variety of ways. One church committed to providing soup and sandwiches for Safe Harbor Inn, while visitation and inspirational music will be provided to the patients at St. Elias Specialty Hospital.

Featured in: September 2010