Shrine Mont 2023: The Highlights
From the days when the elegant and historic Orkney Springs Hotel was host to hundreds of guests from throughout the country who came to take advantage of the healthful “cold water springs,” the little town of Orkney Springs, nestled among the trees at the foot of Great North Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley, has been a place to get away. And since the 1920s, it has also been home to a respite of a different sort – Shrine Mont, the conference and retreat center of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
September 22-24th, pilgrims from St. Stephens joined with neighboring Cople Parish, Westmoreland County, in this “place apart.” We stepped back to a slower-paced time to give thanks to God for his creation – from the beauty of the place to the people who gathered to celebrate being part of the family of God.
Shortly after arriving on late Friday afternoon, we enjoyed meeting one another during happy hour and dinner followed by ice breakers and a service of Compline.
On Saturday, Pilar and Cople Parish priest, Kristen Farrington, led us through a lively 3-part “Instructioned Eucharist” in which they explained the parts of the Eucharist service, answered many questions, and ended with our own more enlightened celebration of the Eucharist. In between, we had an opportunity to branch out and explore the area. The rain pre-empted our planned bonfire, but not the continuing fellowship.
After breakfast on Sunday, two addional parishes – St. Clement’s Alexandria and St. Bartholomew’s Richmond – joined us to celebrate Holy Eucharist at the Shrine of the Transfiguraon, which is the open-air cathedral of the Diocese that was consecrated in 1925.
And before leaving, Pilar made sure that St. Stephen’s is on the Shrine Mont calendar (September 20-23rd, 2024) for next year. We hope you can join us for Shrine Mont 2024 - either again, or for the first time.