Retreat Offers Fellowship

ST. MARYS — Area women can relax, rejuvenate and enjoy fellowship as part of an annual women’s retreat next weekend.

The fourth annual Chocolate Boutique Women’s Retreat will run July 13 and 14 at Wayne Street United Methodist Church.

“Kim Kill, the chairperson, had been attending the Women of Faith event every year,” Committee member Bev Hurlburt said, noting Women of Faith is a large women’s retreat that tours across the country. “She had a desire to bring something like that to St. Marys.”

So, four years ago, the Chocolate Boutique Women’s Retreat was born.

“It’s open to any woman,” Hurlburt said. “The thing we like the most is even though it’s held at the methodist church, it’s for the community. About 65 percent of the women are from other churches. It excites us that we bring other denominations together and we worship together.”

She noted the chocolate in the retreat’s name.

“The very first year we were trying to think of something that would attract women to it, and that’s what we came up with,” Hurlburt said. “It went over so well. We change the theme of it every year, but it’s always the chocolate boutique.”

Hurlburt added there is chocolate as part of the event.

“The first day we have a chocolate boutique,” she said. “We have chocolate fountains and chocolate treats.”

Hurlburt will also be speaking at the event. The St. Marys native has spoken all over Ohio since 2008, telling of the ways God has changed her life.

When the retreat kicks off on Friday, registration will be from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., followed by a welcome with praise and worship from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. A drama and testimony will be from 7 p.m. to 7:20 p.m., followed by Hurlburt speaking and special music from 7:20 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and the chocolate boutique from 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday will open with registration and breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., followed by praise and worship from 9 a.m. to 9:25 a.m., testimony from 9:25 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and sessions from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Testimony and featured speaker Sally Baucke will be from 10:50 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

“She’s spoken nationally,” Hurlburt said. “She’s a comedian and a mother. She’s also involved with MOPS — Mothers of Pre-schoolers.”

Baucke has more than 15 years of experience “keeping it clean, encouraging and hilarious” under her belt, and she has three sons and has been married for 25 years. Originally from Chicago, Baucke is an RN with a degree from the University of Tulsa, “Using her 20-plus years of experience in critical care and pediatrics to discuss the healthy value of humor and friendship.”

Following Baucke, Saturday’s events will continue with praise and worship from 11:45 to noon, followed by a family style lunch from noon to 12:45 p.m. and special entertainment from 12:45 p.m. to 1:05 p.m.

“We always have entertainment on Saturday,” Hurlburt said. “That’s always a surprise. We spend a lot of time on that because we want people to laugh.”

Following the entertainment, praise and worship will go from 1:05 p.m. to 1:20 p.m., testimony and Baucke again from 1:20 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. and a closing from 2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“We hope that they walk away with a renewed sense of who God is and what he’s doing in their life,” Hurlburt said. “Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness. We want it to be a time where they sit back and worship God and be closer to him and the people around him. We want them to feel renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated.”

She noted participants in the Chocolate Boutique Women’s Retreat should register ahead of time, and they will take registrations up until the Thursday before the event, July 12, by contacting Wayne Street United Methodist Church. Registration forms are available at the Connection Desk at the church. The cost for the retreat is $40 per person.

“New this year is we came up with a new special,” Hurlburt said.

“If you get five of your friends, you come free — five out of six people have to pay.”

She added the retreat is a time for women to get away.

“We wanted to bring a message, we want to have fun,” Hurlburt said. “The five of us that plan want to have fun. We want to people have fun and laugh. Sometimes you need the highs to get you through some of the lows, and it’s just time away.”