The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, author, spiritual director, and former Broadway star, spoke at the 35th annual Men’s Conference at Beckwith, March 4-6. Thirty-eight men from 12 parishes of the Central Gulf Coast, as well as a participant from the Diocese of Alabama and one from the Diocese of Mississippi, came to hear Crafton speak about “The Alsolife: Life Beyond the Life We Know.” She challenged her listeners to think and believe beyond this life and to experience life on Karios, God’s time. Crafton believes that horizons become unlimited so we can expand our imaginations to begin to see life from God’s perspective.
Participants also enjoyed fellowship together beginning with a Friday afternoon oyster shuck attended by Bishop Russell Kendrick. The disciplines of prayer and worship were not neglected. In addition to Sunday Eucharist celebrated by Crafton and her long-time friend Walt Kindergan, the men walked the Stations of the Cross Saturday night as part of their Lenten discipline. Each participant also received either Yes, We’ll Gather at the River or The Courage to Grow Old, both written by Crafton, who signed copies at a Saturday afternoon “Fish and Fire” gathering. The fish and “fixins” were provided by the Beckwith staff, making a beautiful Beckwith afternoon even better.
The Men’s Conference over the years has featured many distinguished clergy of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori; Dr. Ian Markham, President of Virginia Seminary; Bishop Stephen Charleston; and the Rev. Jo Bailey Wells, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The 36th conference will feature the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston and former rector of Christ Church, Pensacola. All men of the diocese are invited to come to Beckwith March 3-5, 2017, to welcome Father Levenson back to the Gulf Coast.