Restore Women’s Gathering nourishes relationships with God

Spacious times of worship and prayer, excellent food and an inspiring speaker were the ingredients to the success of the first ever Restore Womens’ Gathering on Saturday, 7 September.

The Restore Gathering was a joyful success with over 70 women of all ages from across the Diocese of Bendigo attending the event at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Flora Hill.

The Revd Heather Cetrangolo, Chaplain at Trinity College in Melbourne and an Anglican Minister, was the guest speaker at the event. Split over two halves (with morning tea providing a delicious type of ‘intermission’) Heather shared her thoughts, reflections and real-life experiences of Psalm 23.

Heather’s talk made for very genuine and inspiring teaching about God and how personal He is.

“I really appreciated the extended periods of music with no distractions! It was refreshing to dwell in the radical acceptance of the gospel and our status as children of God,” Verity Nicholson said.

The worship time was led by an all-female band and it was a delight to have an all-male team serving the women morning tea and lunch. Many of the guests commented on how wonderful it was to be served in this way by such a loving group of men.

“I had this sense that what we needed as women was to be restored in our relationships with the Lord,” Fiona Preston, the event coordinator said, “Although I knew it would be a simple format, I was hopeful the day would be anything but ‘simple’! I heard many great comments from attendees of that restoration happening throughout the day.”

Fiona’s work as a Community Chaplain in the diocese began at the start of this year and her passions are to support women one-to-one to grow in their faith, and also to organise opportunities for women from across the diocese to gather together.

“Towards the end of 2018 – before I’d even started in this role – I was dreaming about the future,” Fiona shared. “At 4am on 19 November last year, I woke up and wrote in my journal: organise a women’s conference!” Initially what seemed like a big task became achievable with the support of Ali Bullen and Sarah Sharpe.

Guest, Annie Treanor said of the day: “Restore, a beautiful time for women to reflect through music, prayer and delicious food! I do feel restored!”

Fiona Preston