I was one of those people who went kicking and screaming to my Tres Dias weekend, which was #63 in 1987 when I had just come to Clintondale to pastor the church. The very last thing I wanted to do was attend a retreat since my job for the past four years had been that of a retreat director. The joke, which is actually how it happened, was that I attended the weekend to get my sponsors off my back!
I had a difficult time until Friday afternoon when the Piety talk was given, at which time my heart was touched and melted. I began to realize how much I needed to be on the weekend. It was on that weekend that I received my true ordination from God, which came in the chapel at the Oblate House toward the end of the weekend. Although I had been ordained by my denomination in 1979, here in the winter of 1987 I heard the Lord say, “You are now ordained into the worldwide church of Jesus Christ and you can do anything that I call my ministers to do.” That call on my life transcended anything that my denomination could ever place into my life.
Over the years I have participated in many weekends as a Spiritual Director (19 as of July, 2007) and have seen God at work in so many different and marvelous ways. I tell folks that I go on these Tres Dias weekends for selfish reasons, hoping that someone might be blessed by anything I have to do or say as a Spiritual Director. I come away refreshed and ready to see what new things God might have for me to do in the local church.
Over the years I have met hundreds of Christians from the Mid-Hudson Valley and have come to appreciate the ways in which churches are knit together by the Spirit, sharing in God’s larger plan for our valley. I keep running into believers in the malls, grocery stores, church events, Tres Dias events, etc. I am grateful to God for the larger Christian community He has allowed me to know through Tres Dias.
One of the most impressive things about Tres Dias is how it has impacted Clintondale Friends Christian Church. When people return from a weekend, they often have a fuller understanding of their relationship to, and walk with the Lord, and they willingly take on a more active role in the life and leadership of the church. I credit Tres Dias with assisting in the continued health, growth and vitality of my church.
I would be most happy to talk with any pastors who are not sure yet of their understanding of, or support for Tres Dias. But beware: I am a strong supporter of Tres Dias and will do my best to influence pastors to get involved. I am positive it will be a benefit to the pastor and his or her church. No question in my mind.
Daniel P. Whitley, Pastor (Retired)