By Ardis Stenbakken – Loveland, Colorado …Sixty women from area churches assembled at the Campion church June 18-19 for a special women’s ministry weekend workshop titled “Grief, Grace and Gratitude.”

The gathering focused on the question, “How do people handle their grief, loss, and isolation after a year of the Covid pandemic?” The three presentations were offered by Alicia Patterson, assistant professor at AdventHealth University and spouse of Geoff Patterson, senior pastor at the Boulder Adventist church.

Participants were thankful for the gathering, especially the topic. “This topic was so necessary at this time. In the pandemic, we lost everything—our freedom, our jobs, our health, sometimes family and friends—everything. These topics fit the times,” one attendee expressed.

DeeAnn Bragaw, Campion member and RMC women’s ministry director, commented on the event stating, “Many women expressed their appreciation for Alicia’s messages, telling us how helpful they were. I heard one woman say ‘I didn’t even know how much I needed this, and the guide for how to lament through Scripture was so helpful!’”

“Grief: Giving God Our Pain,” was presented Friday evening giving the women an opportunity to lose their grief through lament. Each participant was led through an exercise of lament and then could take their grief, in the form of a rock, to the Cross.

The gathering continued Sabbath morning with a presentation entitled “Comforting Others with Comfort We Have Received,” followed later in the day by “Gratitude: Praising God for What Remains.” To end the weekend, Patterson had the women participate in finding and expressing gratitude through fun writing and art activities using drawing materials and Play-Doh.

The women experienced a bittersweet moment on Sabbath as the Campion women’s ministries team bid farewell to DeeAnn Bragaw and thanked her for her dedication to ministry. She will assume her new role as women’s ministry director at the North American Division beginning July 1.

–Ardis Stenbakken is Campion church communication team member; photos by Joyelle Worley