Building Puentes Clergy Couples Retreat

Group 236

February 19-21, 2020

The Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Sinodo del Caribe – Caribbean Synod requested a Clergy Couples Retreat as part of our Building Puentes Initiative and the Metro DC Synod was happy to co-create and participate!

The realities in Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria, government, economy, earthquakes) have greatly affected the church and all church families directly. While pastors work hard to support, spiritually and physically, their congregations and members affected, they are also supporting their own families suffering the affects of these events. It has been a heavy load to bear for our partners in Puerto Rico as you can imagine. 

In an effort to provide space to unload burdens to our God that suffers with us, revisit commitments to self-care and our chosen life partners, and pray for each other during this time of trial, this retreat was born.

Pastor Dan Roschke of Bethlehem Lutheran in Fairfax, VA honestly stated, I was a little suspicious about what we were going to be doing in Puerto Rico. What would we be accomplishing, how will we be helping/ministering/serving? And again, like a ton of bricks, the true gift — for me — was simply (and profoundly) in showing up! In these busy, busy times, showing up is what we’re all trying to do, but our heads are in six different places, our phones are buzzing away, in-boxes piling up, etc.  What I mean to do the most is actually the last thing I’m doing: being present. 

Deep presence (especially amid the tears) is precisely the gift…for everyone! This wasn’t just Metro DC coming in to give!  Our time together was mutual giving and receiving…in our being.  Showing up for one another, for yourself, for God’s planet, for colleagues and friends in Puerto Rico, Metro DC, and across the Caribbean…not just in body, but in mind and spirit. I’ll take this rich lesson into Lent, with joy and hope and great thanksgiving.” 

“It was fun, invigorating, hopeful and heart-wrenching.” stated Heather Roschke, Minister for Administration at Lord of Life and wife of Pastor Roschke. “As a pastor’s spouse I was incredibly appreciative of time to have sessions with other spouses/partners, both men and women.  I also appreciated time aside to spend with my own spouse.  Despite the trauma these pastor families have faced personally and collectively, they were spirit-filled, warm, welcoming, and a lot of fun.  What an inspiration.  I can’t wait to bring my children to the island and find more ways to build puentes!  Thank you Metro DC and Bishop Ortiz!” 

It was an honest, beautiful, joy-filled and meaningful gathering for all.