St. Andrew Women's Retreat 2023

As we’ve been planning St. Andrew’s annual Women’s Retreat, “Angels Among Us: Celebrating Divine Love and Human Hospitality” (Feb. 3-4, 2023), I can’t help thinking of a song by the country group Alabama—a song that my college friends and I used to love to sing over and over and over again: 

     Oh, I believe there are angels among us, 
     Sent down to us from somewhere up above. 
     They come to you and me in our darkest hours 
     To show us how to live, to teach us how to give, 
     To guide us with the light of love. 

And that’s our prayer for this upcoming retreat: That we all will gather together: 

  • to celebrate God’s divine love, 

  • to reflect on our sense of hospitality (even for strangers), and

  • to honor the many (many!) “angels among us.” 

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church already has an abundance of angels serving our community and beyond. Sewing for Others, the Prayer Shawl Ministry, Lettuce Feed Others, our monthly Food Distribution, Impacto Ministry, Soles for Souls, Act Justly, the Mitten Tree Project, and Operation Christmas Child … those are but a few of the ways our congregation sends an astounding amount of God’s love into the world. And for the people on the receiving end of those ministries, our acts of kindness may be exactly the angels they need.   

As songwriters Don Goodman and Becky Hobbs put it: 

     But ain't it kind of funny at the dark end of the road 
     That someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope. 

As we prepare to gather in small groups and to absorb some deep spiritual insights from the Rev. Jenny Seylar, we pray all the retreat participants will find new ways of knowing and feeling God’s love. And then, may we find new ways to show that love to the world around us – to be angels to the strangers among us. 

As we used to sing with extra passion: 

     They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places,

     and grace us with their mercies in our time of need. 

On behalf of the Women’s Retreat Planning Team, we invite you to join us. 

     — Nichole Hoffman

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The Rev. Jenny Seylar

Featured Speaker

The Rev. Jenny Seylar is a woman with a deep faith in Jesus Christ who serves in ministry as Lead Chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. Prior to that, Jenny served as a church pastor for 16 years. She believes in creating authentic relationships in order to walk alongside folks wherever they are in their faith journey.

Before Jenny spent summers on mission trips with youth and preaching weekly in the churches she served, she was a middle school teacher. Still passionate about English and science, Jenny incorporates these topics into teaching and preaching.

Jenny enjoys the days she spends with her 3 grown kids, their spouses, and 2 grandkids, the walks with her two pups, and the time spent outside exploring nature. When the weather is nice, you will find her communing with God in her kayak on the local rivers and lakes or hiking the many trails. A physical reminder of her faith is the light of the lighthouse and how Jesus is the light of the world. 

When she’s not serving in ministry or outside enjoying nature, she loves to sit by the fire with a book, a journal, and cuddle with her pup. 

You can read more about Jenny Seylar and her blog “Journey From Despair to Hope,” and check out her writing as blogger and editor for The Dented Fender Ministry.