Metanoia retreat aims for relaxation

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As the semester deepens, Gannon University’s Campus Ministry acknowledges the stress that students face and is offering an escape from it in next month’s sixth annual Metanoia retreat.

Metanoia is a Greek word that means “you must change your heart,” advice that relates to all students when it becomes difficult to maintain a positive attitude about course work.

Jen Kline, the resident campus minister for Finegan Hall, said the retreat has this name because the hope and prayer for the weekend is that both student leaders and students find a moment where something in their life changes for the better.

“This could be prayer life, relationships with family, friendships or any number of things that can weigh down one’s heart,” Kline said.  “We hope to take away some of that weight and make more room for God and positive relationships.”

Kevin Holland, a junior history major and one of the student leaders for the retreat, said he hopes the retreat will improve the awareness of God’s work in the lives of those participating.

“Every college student is searching for something,” Holland said. “But it is important not to get overwhelmed trying to find the answers, Metanoia helps students to take a break from their daily lives and allows them to encounter God in a new way.”

Holland is working with seven other student leaders to bring the retreat together. He said in addition to weekly meetings, the main thing that all the leaders are encouraged to do is tell other students about the retreat and encourage them to come and make Metanoia.

Kline said this is her third year working with the Metanoia retreat and called it one of the best events of the year.  This year, she is working specifically with the group leaders in developing talks for the participants.

She said there are a number of student witness talks as well as time for both individual and community prayer and reflection.

“Metanoia was made specifically for Gannon students,” Kline said. She said that her favorite aspect of the weekend is what happens during nonstructured time, however.

“The fellowship and bonding that occurs is really wonderful and allows students just to relax and be themselves without the academic or social stress that is usually present,” Kline said. “It is a great reminder that taking a ‘time-out’ from the daily hustle and bustle of life is what really allows us to be ourselves and be present to the people around us.”

Holland said he enjoys talking about about God with the participants on retreat.

“No matter which students are leading or making the retreat, it’s important to always remember that we are all going through the same trials of life,” Holland said.

“Metanoia is an excellent retreat for me and the other leaders to become more comfortable sharing our faith, but an even better chance to grow in faith with fellow students.”

Kline said she hopes students will know God’s love after talking about him.

“[I hope] students walk away feeling loved by God, loved by themselves and loved by the communities they are a part of, including the Metanoia community and the larger Gannon community,” Kline said. “That’s really the goal to any retreat, but I find that Metanoia explores that a little bit deeper than some other programs and really emphasizes the sense of community that makes people feel secure and valued.”

The retreat will be held March 20-22 at the McKeever Environmental Center.  The cost is $40 and scholarships are available to qualified students. Interested students can sign up to attend on the EngageU website.

 

KELSEY GHERING

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