With a record number of 85 students participating, the fall 2018 AGAPE retreat was the largest in its 16 year history and more than doubled the number of attendees from last year. Students gathered at Camp Zimmerman in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, September 28-30 for Campus Ministry’s largest annual event to participate in a dynamic weekend away from campus, planned and hosted by a student leadership team in collaboration with ministry staff.
“The AGAPE retreat is Walsh’s oldest student retreat and an amazing opportunity to get away from campus as well as the business of daily life as a student,” said Director of Campus Ministry Ben Walther. “Above all, the AGAPE retreat is inspiring. Student testimonies, time spent in small group discussions, praise and worship, fellowship and meals together all contribute to creating an atmosphere of openness and honesty.”
Since 2004, the fall AGAPE retreat has been a great way to start the year, forge new friendships and deepen student faith. Each year, a student core team organizes talks, activities, skits, and prayer opportunities.
“It is beautiful to see students from different faiths gather to worship,” said Coordinator of Residential Ministry Carolina Bejarano-Eyl. “I love seeing how our students lead the retreat as they bring their unique and different gifts to the table to make this weekend unforgettable.”
The theme of the retreat was Come as You Are, encouraging students to come to the Lord based on Matthew’s Gospel reading 11:28, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
“I came on AGAPE because I wanted to meet new friends and strengthen my relationship with God,” said freshman Biology major Ally Brazer. “My favorite part of the weekend was the witness talks and how each individual explained how God helped them through these difficult times in their lives.”
The leadership team worked diligently to prepare for the retreat and allow for the retreatants to have a strong encounter with Christ.
“Last year, AGAPE was the reason that I decided to pursue my faith more deeply and begin the RCIA process. This year, I wanted to test my faith even more and help plan and organize the retreat,” said senior Government and Foreign Affairs and International Relations double major Danny Coffey. “I was able to share my story and realize that I am not alone.”
Throughout the weekend there were many opportunities for students to grow together through listening to witnesses, sharing in small groups, prayer time and fun. Students participated in different prayer experiences such as Veneration of the Cross, Praise and Worship, Adoration and Mass.