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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: Retreat Reflections

    Retreat Reflections: The Sewing Room Retreats at Sky Lake

    October 30, 2018 / By Wendy Fairchild and Brenda Contento

    In March of 2008, we had our first retreat at Sky Lake. While our group is called “The Sewing Room,” many of our friends are crafters, not necessarily quilters/sewists, so the mix is a bit different than a traditional quilters-only retreat. We have become a close-knit group and are often asked by others how they can become part of our group, or how to begin a group of their own.

    The drive to Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center is inspiring; coming up the hill into the woods you begin to feel the worries of your everyday life fade away. The facilities at Underwood Lodge are perfect for our group: the bedrooms are located on the main floor, and the working space is conveniently located on the floor below, making it possible to work on our projects as early or as late as we wish. The open layout of the work area allows for plenty of space for each participant and easy collaboration on projects. The adjoining living room allows for comfortable relaxation and casual conversation throughout the day and evening. Our first experience was so terrific that we agreed to make it a bi-annual retreat.

    The timber-frame Founder’s Lodge, where the dining room is located, is majestic and spacious and a lovely place to get to know others who are staying at Sky Lake. The views from the dining room to the lake and trees makes us wish we could live there forever.

    While we are all focused on our projects, no retreat would be complete without a walk around the lake or down the road. We have gone on walks in all sorts of weather (including getting surprised by a spring rainstorm). Sometimes the weather is warm and sunny and sometimes it is cold and snowy, but the wildlife and wooded pathways are always interesting. We’ve seen beavers building their home, deer, ducks, and other birds and creatures. We’ve seen beautiful changing leaves and the lake frozen and glistening in the sun.

    A review of our time at Sky Lake cannot be complete without mentioning the wonderful and caring staff that work there. Jenna and Matt make us feel welcome every time we visit, like visiting with old friends. The food has always been excellent, thanks to the hard work of Kevin and his helpers, they are able to accommodate the specific food needs of our members without missing a beat. Every staff person that we have encountered has been warm and friendly and makes us feel cared for.

    Our retreats at Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center are the highlight of our year, and when one of us is unable to attend, it is with deep regret. Every time we come to Sky Lake there have been improvements to the experience, from adding alarm clocks to the guest rooms, to providing extension cords for all our equipment, and from the welcome cookies to the parting chocolates.  We love Sky Lake!

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    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."