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Compiled by: Carolyn V. Reynolds, Gainesville District, April 22, 2015

May 23-25, 1997 - Sixteen (16) ladies from the Gainesville District retreated at the Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee. Mother Cora Williams (former Gainesville District First Lady)stressed "we need a time of relaxation just as our husbands do." We reserved four villas and on the first night we all brought a dish and met in Mother Jessie McKnight's room for our first fellowship dinner.

June 18-20, 1998 - Seventeen (17) ladies from the Gainesville and Palatka Districts were in attendance. Again, our fellowship dinner was held in Mother McKnight's villa on the first night. The retreat was initially planned for June 19-21 (Friday thru Sunday). This was changed when it was determined that June 21st was Father's Day and our husbands wanted us home, not coming home, on their special day. We therefore changed the dates and showered them with love on Father's Day.

June 9-12, 1999 - Things began to change with our third Retreat. We ordered t-shirts (white), initiated a theme (A New Life for a New Millennium), and we added another day to the event, 3 nights & 4 days. Because of increased attendance our fellowship dinner was held in the Waterfall Banquet Room. It was located under the Main Lobby of the Resort. Twenty-eight (28) ladies from Alabama, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and the South Florida Districts were in attendance.

As one can imagine, numerous blessings and highlights from each year occurred since the start of the retreat in 1997. Testimonies were shared concerning healing of the body and mind, self-worth restored, and renewed faith. Hurting and discouraged women returned home with their joy restored and encouraged to move forward. Many enjoyed the change in atmosphere without high heels and hats, thus enabling them to let their hair down and enjoy the week with their sisters from around the National Church.

During the 4-night 5-day event, two banquets and an outing were held, fried fish was the main course during the Outing. The retreat song "The More We Get Together" and our song leader, Mother Dorothy McGriff were introduced in year 2000.  In 1997, the first retreat was set in motion by three ladies, Mother Jessie McKnight (COGBF First Lady Emeritus), Mother Cora Williams (former Gainesville District First Lady) and Carolyn V Reynolds (GD and COGBF Pastors/Ministers Wives' Secretary).  In 2014 the Retreat Committee consisted of the following ladies:

Mother Jessie McKnight, President
Carolyn V Reynolds, Overseer (Gainesville District)
Michelle McBride, Registration Coordinator (South Carolina District)
Thelma Lewis, Outing & Photography Coordinator (Palatka District)
Kaye Coffee, Banquets Coordinator (South Georgia District)
Belinda Lewis, Programs & Name Badges (East Coast District)
Pamela Roberts, Assistant (Palatka District)


Below is a summary of each year's retreat:

3rd Retreat - June 9-12, 1999, 28 Ladies in attendance
Theme: A New Life for a New Millennium

4th Retreat -  June 7-10, 2000, Attendance 65
Theme: Walking By Faith in Y2K

5th Retreat -  June 11-15, 2001, Attendance 95
Theme: I'm Blessed and Highly Favored of the Lord
Location: Vistana Resort, St Augustine, FL

6th Retreat - June 11-14, 2002, Attendance 135
Theme: Showers of Blessings are in the Storm

7th Retreat - June 9-13, 2003, Attendance 111
Theme: I Will Praise Thee for I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

8th Retreat - June 7-11, 2004, Attendance 125
Theme:  Love, Believeth All Things, Hopeth All Things, Endureth All Things

9th Retreat - June 6-10, 2005, Attendance 135
Theme:  And God Created Woman

10th Retreat - June 5-9, 2006, Attendance 117
Theme: A Time to Relax

11th Retreat - June 4-8, 2007, Attendance 148
Theme: Fun In The Son

12th Retreat - June 9-13, 2008, Attendance 130
Theme: Godly Women, Fragrances of Beauty

13th Retreat - June 8-12, 2009, Attendance 131
Theme: A Wise Woman Builds

14th Retreat - June 7-11, 2010, Attendance 126
Theme: Women of Excellence Have All the Right Words

15th Retreat - June 6-10, 2011, Attendance 105
Theme: Women of God - Know Better, Do Better, Feel Better

16th Retreat - June 11-15, 2012, Attendance 106
Theme: L.A.C.E. "Ladies After Christ's Love"

17th Retreat - June 10-14, 2013, Attendance 110
Theme: Woman to Woman - Sharing Stories, Connecting Hearts,
Absorbed in Christ's Love

18th Retreat - June 9-13, 2014, Attendance 116
Theme: Centennial Year - Godly Women Standing on A Firm Foundation

19th Retreat - June 8-12, 2015, Attendance 125
Theme: Righteous Women Anchored in Christ