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posted: 7/9/2012 7:40 AM

Crystal Lake churches to sponsor ecumenical retreat

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Submitted by First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church and Bethany Lutheran Church of Crystal Lake, along with the Nativity Project of Harvard, will sponsor an ecumenical retreat focusing on the spirituality of companionship over the weekend traditionally celebrated as the feast day of Mary Magdalene, July 21-22. It will be held at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wis.

The theme will be "The One Sent," based on the painting of the same name commissioned by Barbara Marian and painted by Janet McKenzie.

Marian is the founder of The Nativity Project with McKenzie. She has extensive experience as a Catholic liturgist and, with Bethany's senior minister, the Rev. Carrie Smith, will develop the liturgies for the retreat.

The Benedictine Sisters of Madison will host the gathering and offer a presentation on Benedictine spirituality and their own ecumenical and ecological ministries.

The Rev. Casey Baggott, executive minister of the Community Church of Vero Beach (Fla.), will give three presentations during the weekend: "Companion in Serving," "Companion in Suffering,"and "Companion in Love."

Baggott earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa; her master of divinity degree from United Seminary of the Twin Cities; and her doctor of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Ind. She was ordained in Minneapolis as well.

She has completed additional training in clinical pastoral education, bioethics, and spiritual guidance, and studied in the Summer Theological Institute at Oxford University, England.

Casey's publications include two full years of liturgical prayers for the Clergy Journal and her sermons have been included in the Library of Distinctive Sermons. In addition, she has worked in the areas of behavioral research as a chaplain, and as a consultant in bioethics and spiritual ministries, as well as serving as a parish pastor.

She was the first ordained woman to be elected to the "Women's Economic Roundtable of Minnesota." Casey currently serves on the board of directors of the Homeless Family Center of Vero Beach.

The registration fee (excluding housing) is $134 per person. Housing and meals will be provided at the monastery; additional housing will be available at the Baymont Inn and Suites Madison (same rate).

Single ($55) and double rooms ($70) are available at both sites on a first-come, first-served basis. For details or to register, contact the Rev. Budd Friend-Jones at the First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake at or (815) 459-6010, ext. 11.