After three years of building community, diving deep into spirituality, and sharing stories, the diocesan young adult ministry initiative, The Table, was determined to go on retreat together. A day was set in August, and participants were invited to Canterbury Hills Camp to stay overnight in the beautiful, wooded area of Dundas.
The Table gathering was developed in September of 2019 for young adults to explore trending topics, life’s big questions, and spirituality. The gathering originally took place in an independent coffee shop in Hamilton across from Christ’s Church Cathedral. In the beginning month,s 8-10 participants met on the third Thursday of every month before the pandemic’s abrupt stop to all gatherings. COVID-19 forced The Table to move online, a transition that could have been detrimental to the group. Little did we know that adapting the program to Zoom eliminated barriers for young adults across the diocese. During the pandemic the virtual Table continued to welcome new people ages 19–35, growing the community to over 50 members. The gatherings became a space for people to connect, pray, socialize, and discuss the realities of the world. Topics varied and conversations were fabulously unpredictable, however a common thread was always discovered. Participants often expressed excitement around gathering in person and the possibilities of a planned retreat once pandemic restrictions lifted. August 28 was a celebratory moment as we invited The Table community to their first retreat.
Participants stayed in rustic cabins at Canterbury Hills Camp and enjoyed a beautiful stuffed chicken dinner. Following the meal was a sunset hike overlooking the valley below. To everyone’s delight a family of deer were spotted along the trail! To end the evening the group gathered around a bonfire for smores, prayers, and conversations. The retreat welcomed fellowship, reconnection, and rest, a true blessing and gift to all who attended. This retreat is the first of many to come!