Derek Yoder, past Laurelville staff member and volunteer host at this year’s Music and Worship Leaders Retreat, offers the following story about his experience at the retreat.

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In preparation for Music and Worship Leaders Retreat, Ken Nafziger (resource team member) asked the weekend’s participants to consider writing “Autobiography as Haiku”. The assignment was simple: in one hundred words or less, reflect on the transformations brought about by the arts in worship.

After considering the weekend that just concluded and my experience of MWLR over the years, I wrote this haiku:

Two thousand ten was my first year at Music and Worship Leaders Retreat. As an introvert, unsure of what to expect, I arrived early to the Meetinghouse and found an inconspicuous corner.

Ken provided the pitch for the opening hymn and gave us a downbeat. I gasped. I had never been part of a choir like that. Clearly, I was in the wrong place.

This year was my seventh at MWLR. It turns out, I had been wrong. This was exactly the right place for me.

“No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.”

Laurelville is a Christian Retreat Center in the Laurel Highlands in Southwestern Pennsylvania.