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Diocese of Miami and the Southeast Winter Retreat

DMC DOMSE Winter Retreat 2018 Committee MembersDMC DOMSE Winter Retreat 2018 Committee Members















In an effort to continually improve, the DMC DOMSE Winter Retreat Committee wanted to get your feedback about the event that was held on January 25 - 28 @ St. Elias Orthodox Church (Atlanta, GA). Survey will be open from March 15–April 15, 2018. 

Please access the survey here:

The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast has had a year of change. In Ecclesiastes we are reminded that there is “[a] time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” In 2017 our diocese experienced this verse firsthand: we said a heartfelt goodbye to our beloved Sayedna ANTOUN, our first diocesan bishop – for many of us the only bishop we’ve ever known; we also ushered in a new era by welcoming Sayedna NICHOLAS back to the southeast as our new diocesan bishop. As with all changes, this transition has been seasoned with both tears and joy.

Our first mission as a diocese with our new bishop was to craft a Winter Delegates Meeting, so our work began.

Historically the Winter Delegates Meetings in our Diocese have not been heavily attended, so Bishop NICHOLAS along with a few faithful set out to breathe new life into this meeting and, hopefully, attract more participants. The city of Atlanta was chosen for the winter meeting, due in part to its strategic location in the Diocese, and in part to the warm welcome extended by St. Elias Orthodox Church.

The next step was to rework the meeting into a retreat setting. The Antiochian Women of our Diocese had experimented with a retreat during the 2016 Winter Delegates Meeting and it was a great success. Bishop NICHOLAS decided that we would rename the winter meeting as the Winter Retreat, and planning began in earnest. The Antiochian Women invited their newly-retired, former spiritual advisor, Fr. Stephen Rogers of St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin, Tennessee, to be their keynote speaker. SOYO and our newly formed Young Adult Ministry got on board and planned retreat speakers for the weekend as well. In order to foster a sense of fellowship, each organization in the Diocese sponsored a meal during the weekend, and we were blessed to be hosted and fed by St. Elias Orthodox Church in Atlanta, too.

The clergy of the Diocese and their spouses were invited to have dinner with Sayedna NICHOLAS on Thursday evening. Bishop NICHOLAS shared his experience of visiting Mount Athos in the weeks before the retreat. The rest of the Diocese joined the clergy for morning prayers and meetings on Friday. Usually these meetings are not very well attended, but to our surprise there were so many people that we had to bring in extra chairs. Clergy met for a time of spiritual refreshment as the Antiochian Women, SOYO, and YAM were having their business meetings. In the afternoon everyone was blessed to be able to gather for the general meeting and hear Sayedna NICHOLAS’ vision for the future. 

On Saturday we gathered as Antiochian Women and Antiochian Men to spend the day listening to Fr. Stephen Rogers speak on God’s Gardens. He led us on a journey from Eden to Golgotha. Everyone enjoyed the day and one person was overheard saying that it was the best day he had ever spent at a diocesan gathering! Our SOYO met with Bishop NICHOLAS to learn more about personal prayer and the Young Adult Ministry was led in their spiritual journey by Fr. David Bleam from St. Andrew’s Orthodox Church, Pensacola, Florida.

The young adults spent some fellowship time out at a restaurant for dinner one evening and tested their skills at a local Escape Room. We are truly excited for our Young Adult Ministry and look forward to all the blessing they will be to our Diocese.

Every meal was a wonderful time of fellowship with food for all, even though each meal was attended by twice the amount of people we predicted would be there. It was truly a miracle of God’s provision. Many people remarked that they had never been to a diocesan gathering before but after such a beautiful weekend of fellowship they can’t wait for the next one!

Now we look forward to all the wonderful things God has in store for us in West Palm Beach, Florida, this June at our 2018 Parish Life Conference. Hope to see you there!

As the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast (DOMSE) looks toward the future, we invite you to come and see.

DOMSE Winter Retreat Committee