Merry Lea to host “Out of the Whirlwind,” a women’s spirituality retreat


Event: “Out of the Whirlwind,” a women’s spirituality retreat
Date and time: Friday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. to Saturday, Jan. 24, mid-afternoon
Location: Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center
Cost: $50 (includes lodging and two meals), $30 for students. To register, email, call 260.799.5869 or visit by January 14.

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will host its third women’s spirituality retreat, “Out of the Whirlwind,” from Friday, Jan. 23 to Saturday, Jan. 24. The retreat will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening and end mid-afternoon on Saturday.

After the hectic holiday season fades, this retreat aims to provide spiritual rejuvenation and spark creative, worshipful expression through encounters with the natural world. Attendees will enjoy food, creative workshops, insightful biblical reflection, crisp winter hikes and time to relax.

Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, a Mennonite biblical scholar at Bluffton (Ohio) University, will speak on Friday evening. The theme “Out of the Whirlwind” comes from the book of Job, a biblical text rich with creation imagery, where the grandeur and mystery of the natural world is offered as a place to find perspective and insight in the midst of suffering.

“The history of interpretation of Job in art is pretty rich,” Wyse-Rhodes said. “I am excited to dig into the story of both Job and Job’s wife, using a lot of art to start conversation.”

The evening will conclude with a meditative night hike led by Janie Beck Kreider, where participants will be invited to encounter creation under cover of darkness.

Saturday’s activities will focus on contemplative prayer, worship and a variety of spiritual practice workshops led by Jennifer Schrock and Beck Kreider. Using her recent work on the “Every Creature Singing” curriculum, an adult curriculum designed to acquaint congregations with the rich resources for creation care that their own tradition offers, Schrock will guide participants through a creative encounter with the Psalms from the perspective of familiar natural places we have known in our own lives.

The afternoon will remain open for a variety of options: hiking the trails of Merry Lea, time for reflection and prayer, or simply time to relax and rest in a comfortable setting.

The cost for the retreat is $50, which includes lodging and two meals. A reduced student rate of $30 is available. To register, email, call 260.799.5869 or visit by January 14. The retreat will be held at the Farmstead Barn, and participants will stay in the cottages at Rieth Village.

Merry Lea was created with the assistance of the Nature Conservancy and the generosity of Lee A. and Mary Jane Rieth. The 1,189-acre nature preserve is located in central Noble County, midway between Fort Wayne and Goshen, south of Wolf Lake.