Debbie Reflects on the Ohio River Valley Catholic Worker Gathering

Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when we dwell together in unity.”

Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when we dwell together in unity.”

Debbie Baumgartner here: What a rich time of fellowship was had at the Ohio River Valley Catholic Worker & Christian Intentional Community Gathering hosted by Ross Eiler of the Bloomington Catholic Worker.

Unfortunately, we got in late Friday night and missed the square dance, but I heard it was a blast!

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we gathered in the chapel for prayer which gave us the strong foundation and connection with God and each other that was evident throughout the time together. We gathered in the large pavilion next to the pond next to introduce ourselves to each other and decide on our topics for the round table discussions. Many excellent suggestions were given, but the four that were voted the most popular were:

  • 1) Eschatology in Community  

  • 2) Spiritual Formation in Community (morning round table)

  • 3)Transitions in Community and

  • 4)Balancing Hierarchy and Mutuality (afternoon round table). These discussions were fruitful and informative but also continued to draw us closer to one another and to Jesus.

In between the two round table discussions, there was an opportunity to make a craft, we had lunch together and then we all participated in a work project. The family that runs the retreat center has had some major setbacks due to medical problems and we were so thankful to be able to help them out in a tangible way.

The weather was perfect and there were a lot of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful retreat center. Kid care was provided for each of the sessions so that parents could attend. All of the meal prep, kid care, and clean up chores were divided up and everyone contributed food to be prepared corporately.

Saturday night, some of the retreatants gathered in the pavilion across the pond for music jam and campfire. The rest of us could hear them from wherever we were around camp. Others continued conversations from earlier or struck up new friendships. It was great to look around at any free moment and see people talking and sharing with one another about so many aspects of community life and also just about daily joys and sorrows.

Sunday morning’s worship was special due to the musicians who gathered just a little before the rest of us arrived. They worked out some beautiful instrumental interludes and harmonies which made our singing times sound heavenly! We had to head out right after worship in order to get home. All in all, it was a rich time of fellowships, strengthening old friendships and making new connections. God was present with us and we were indeed mutually encouraged.