Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was unaware of it.” – Genesis 28:16
An intimate group of scientists, Master Naturalists, scholars, priests, and avid gardeners came together to retreat in the serene and sacred space of DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center on March 8 and 9 for the annual Creation Care retreat.
Participants were guided by Bill Lewis, a noted expert on the natural world in Southwest Florida, and the Rev. Carol Fleming, Diocesan Missioner, who led the group in worship and music throughout the retreat.
The retreat took participants through four areas of creation and their biblical significance. Beginning with a reflection on “Earth My Body,” the first evening discussion centered around the earth as God’s first creation, our roles as stewards of God’s creation, and outlined the natural habitats of Southwest Florida that are in our care.
The following day the group explored the themes “Water My Blood, Air My Breath, and Fire My Spirit.” In varied locations on the DaySpring campus participants learned about fresh and saltwater habitats, the wind’s important role in the expansion of the natural world, and fire ecology. The second day of the retreat also included the Holy Eucharist with the liturgy celebrating creation.
The retreat concluded with a discussion on the theme of transformation, both unintentional and intentional. With a greater understanding of the natural world’s transformation, birth, and rebirth, participants were challenged with the questions “what transformation did they undergo during this retreat?” and “what intentional transformation can they make to become better stewards of God’s creation?”
“If God’s first language was silence, certainly the Earth can speak,” said Bill Lewis.