For the first time in two years, the Iowa-Missouri Conference hosted an in-person women’s retreat. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the three-day retreat was filled with programs, concerts and fellowship.

On Friday Aug. 27, attendees could choose from one of two seminars — healthy cooking with an Instant Pot and natural facial care.

Emily Shafer, a member of Mason City Church, attended Monique Osborne’s seminar on natural facial care and said the seminar was very interesting.

“The seminar was a good reminder and an affirmation,” Shafer said. “As busy women we can neglect the simple things we need to take care of ourselves. [Osborne] reminded us that it’s not selfish to take care of ourselves; it’s honoring God.”

Not only did participants benefit from the class, Osborne said she also benefited from teaching the seminar.

“Everyone looked like they were having fun, because they were learning, and that’s just very rejuvenating for me and energizing,” Osborne said.

Monique Osborne prays with participants in her seminar.

Friday evening concluded with the first of three main programs which featured musical artist Gale Jones Murphy and speaker Elizabeth Talbot.

On Saturday there was Sabbath School followed by the main session where an offering was collected for Christian Record Services. According to their website, Christian Record Services “offers free resources and programs to people who are legally blind.” In total $1,600 was collected for this cause.

In the afternoon attendees ate a provided meal then joined various seminars. During a free period, Murphy performed on the hotel’s grand piano. For Women’s Ministries Coordinator Gail Coridan this was an answer to prayer. Coridan had tried to secure a grand piano for Murphy to play during the retreat but was denied by the hotel. The hotel’s grand piano was fenced in and roped off to the public. However, while Coridan was unable to get a grand piano for the meeting hall, Murphy later received approval to play the hotel’s piano in the lobby.

“God answered my prayer,” Coridan said. “[Now] she has the grand piano with the entire hotel open to the influence of the Spirit of God.”

Gale Jones Murphy plays piano in the hotel lobby.

Coridan said she was also thankful that Talbot agreed to speak at women’s retreat again. Talbot was originally scheduled to speak in-person for the women’s retreat in 2020. She, however, delivered her messages virtually due to COVID-19. Coridan asked Talbot if she would be willing to speak again this year in-person and Talbot agreed.

“[At women’s retreat] we have Elizabeth [Talbot] saying Jesus wins, and we have Gale [Murphy] exuding the joy of the Lord,” Coridan said. “The combination is so powerful.”

Saturday evening Murphy gave a concert filled with sacred music and anecdotes from her life.

Sami Fletcher, an attendee from the St. Louis Mid-Rivers Church, said she felt the Holy Spirit throughout the concert and the weekend in general.

“I feel blessed beyond measure,” said Fletcher.


On the final day, Sunday, a small group of women gathered to pray together near the prayer quilt, which is filled with names for prayer. The craft sale, which was open Friday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, was packed up after raising $309 to cover the cost of retreat for women in financial need. The weekend concluded with a final presentation by Talbot where attendees participated in a symbolic gesture of their sins being covered by Jesus’ blood.