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Fly fishermen reel in fellowship & faith

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Wooly buggers, nymphs, strike indicators and sink tips. Praise and worship, Bible study and prayer.

What do these terms have in common? Absolutely nothing to the man on the street. But for participants at the first-ever fly fishing conference at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center, it meant fun, fellowship and lots of fishing.

Nearly 40 ministers, musicians, businessmen and salesmen — some with extensive fishing experience, others with none — traveled from as far away as Maine to fish, share and have a relaxed time of fellowship with other fly fishing enthusiasts at LifeWay’s new “Glorieta Adventures” retreat.

Jason Cruise, pastor of Belmont Heights Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., an avid sportsman and founder of the Tennessee Outdoor Network, planned the fall event and led the nightly Bible studies. Focusing on various men in the Bible, Cruise used their example to encourage participants to become “real men” for God.

Cruise also encouraged any ministerial support staff, deacons and church leaders to “encourage your pastors in whatever they like to do,” be it fishing, hunting or any other outdoor recreational activity, as a means “to take other lost men out with them as ministry and witness.”

Each morning at 6:15 a.m. after a hearty breakfast at Glorieta’s Chuckwagon Cafe, the men tied knots and leaders, talked dry flies versus nymphs, and prepared their equipment for a day on the water. Breaking into small groups, the men headed to various New Mexico waters — some staying close, others driving for three hours or more to get to their favorite location. All returned by 7:30 p.m. for a time of singing, worship and Bible study.

Ron Pratt, national event planner for LifeWay Conference Centers, said “Glorieta Adventures” is a new LifeWay ministry geared to sportsmen.

“Our goal is to provide a place for men to deepen their relationship with God, as well as strengthen their relationships with other men through outdoor adventures,” Pratt said, adding that he hopes each of the outdoor conferences will become an annual event expanded to LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center outside Asheville, N.C.

LifeWay Adventures slated this year include the second fly fishing conference, Sept. 27-29, and a “Pastors Masters Golf Retreat,” Sept. 25-27, both at Glorieta, and an elk hunting retreat in Colorado.
For further information about LifeWay Adventures, go to LifeWay.com/flyfishing or contact Pratt at (615) 251-2065.

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