Gathering: Grow Faith, Build Community

Gathering prayer
A time of prayer at last year’s Gathering.

By Heather Schultz, Newsletter Editor

Last year was my first time at the Gathering. It came at a rather difficult season of my life. One month earlier, my unborn daughter had died at eighteen weeks’ gestation, and I was still recovering, both physically and emotionally.

But, as I think He does for just about everyone who attends the Gathering, the Lord had a plan and a purpose for my being there. My pain did not disappear, but the talks spoke to my heart and enabled me to more closely unite my suffering with our Lord’s. The time of Adoration gave me a deep peace and healing, and helped me to forgive some hurts I had been holding on to. During a time when the attendees were praying over one another, I met a beautiful sister in Christ; I was blessed by praying for her intentions and by her prayers for me. In fact, the next day, she sought me out to share a special word God had given her to help in my healing. It was such a gift.

Peter Herbeck’s talk the night of the healing and empowerment service with Fr. Mathias Thelen was one of the most vibrant and compelling talks I have heard—ever. I also was inspired by testimonies of women who had left the very same event the year before, gone back to their parish, and through prayer and perseverance, brought fellow parishioners into a closer relationship with Christ.

Most of all, what touched me about the weekend was a sense of intimacy and shared purpose among the attendees. As Renewal Ministries’ newsletter editor, I am blessed to have an excuse to sit with different people at each meal and ask them why they are there and what kind of things they are involved in back home. However, I could see people at the tables around me having similar conversations. There is a warmth and a welcome among the attendees that I think is fostered by the fact that people have Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday morning together. You share meals. You see each other in between talks, there are snacks at the end of the day; it just builds a sense of closeness I have never before experienced at any kind of talk or similar event.

What I heard again and again from the people—and what I saw in the people I met—was a living love of the Lord. Living and active. I saw people who wanted to be fed—people who knew they could find the nourishment they needed, and a grounding in the Word of God, in time with Renewal Ministries and its community of supporters. What a beautiful community indeed!

If God is putting it on your heart to attend, I encourage you to say “yes!” You can get information and register at the link here. I hope to see you April 7-9! Together, let’s see what fruit the Lord wants to yield from this year’s Gathering. Together, let’s grow in our ability to be a light in the darkness!