by Charlie Meszaros
Recently, I attended the Prov V Young Adult Retreat in Chicago as both a former and potential future college student, and as a friend of Dr. Bob Padberg and Dr. Ellen O’Shaugnessy. The theme was “Sing to the Lord a New Song”, something that very much interested me, as I am somewhat of an aspiring musician who is also very spiritual (I am what some call a “seeker”- one who follows no organized religion, but believes in God). Having attended the retreat last year (when the theme was improvisational comedy), and gotten quite a bit out of it (it was a big part of my decision to move from Columbus, OH to the Chicago, IL area), I was sure that this would be quite a wonderful experience for me, and I was right. However, what I didn’t know was that I would feel even more spiritually and personally fulfilled than I did on last year’s retreat.
To start off, I was glad to see a lot of the same people at this year’s retreat that I saw at last year’s, including a Lutheran clergyman named Ben Adams, with whom I talked a lot at both retreats and with whom I have a great deal in common. As soon as he saw me this year he said “I remember you from last year!”, and we began talking about what had transpired since we last spoke, including my move to the Chicago area. Now that I have moved here, I plan on attending some of Ben’s services at Grace Place Church whenever I am available. I also bonded with many of the students at the retreat, hanging out with them after each day’s events were finished. Such camaraderie has contributed greatly to my spiritual and personal well being, especially as I have felt a bit lost in the past couple of weeks (I’ve been having issues relating to my job and a feeling that I lack a sense of community).
And then, there was the musical aspect of the retreat. As I said, I am somewhat of an aspiring musician, so it was incredibly rewarding to be able to bring my guitar and play along with a big group of people (I even received compliments on my musical ability). And then, to be able to sing and develop my voice in a non-judgmental choir-like setting was lovely. I felt fulfilled to the point where I am considering joining a church choir. And then, I was given the opportunity to find a music event in the area to attend. I found a venue called Reggie’s just south of where the retreat was. I saw four very talented local underground bands there, and this show affirmed my desire to be a musician.
I am absolutely planning on attending next year’s retreat (potentially as a student- I am considering enrolling at a community college in the fall). I trust it will be as rewarding as the last two were.
Sunday morning Eucharist at the Provincial Gathering. Participants sing paperless music taught by members of Music that Makes Community.