• 45°

Retreat invites women to Take Heart


Jennifer Caraccio

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

LANDIS — In a few weeks, Jennifer Caraccio hopes to introduce her sisters in Christ to another side of Jesus.

A person who is willing to cross boundaries.

To touch the untouchable.

Who goes out of his way for the outcast.

Who loves people as they are.

“I want women to be able to come and start a conversation with Jesus,” Caraccio says.

She also wants them to take heart. And that’s the title of her free, two-day retreat: Take Heart: A Love Encounter with Jesus.

The retreat will be held at First Reformed Church in Landis from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 4 and 9-1:30 p.m. Aug. 5.

Participants are asked to bring their own bag lunch. Both days will include worship and creative response sessions.

Joining Caraccio in the endeavor are Roxanne Johnson, Bible history teacher at South Rowan High School and Corriher-Lipe and China Grove middle schools, and Pattie Castor Allmond, a worship leader.

The retreat is a fundraiser for the South Rowan Bible Boosters, a division of the South Rowan Public Schools Bible Teachers Association.

Several years ago, Caraccio was a senior executive director with Thirty-One, a home-based business that sells totes, purses and accessories. While sorting an order one day, she prayed for guidance about what to do next. She realized she would like to be a Bible history teacher, but she didn’t know how to go about it.

“I made the contacts I knew to make, and I attended the association’s banquet that same week,” she says.

There, she met Johnson and the Rev. David Franks, pastor of First Reformed.

“The Lord has led me here,” she told him, and he was thrilled with Caraccio’s enthusiasm and longtime marketing experience. The two later discussed creating a fundraiser in addition to the annual banquet and golf tournament that have been taking place for years.

“I told him, ‘We don’t have any event that points our community back to God,’” Caraccio says.

Why not a women’s retreat? she thought.

“He’s just let us roll with it,” Caraccio says. “I have a heart for women’s ministry.”

“Jennifer is a fantastic, excited lady of God,” Franks says. “She captures people’s attention quickly with her knowledge of scripture and biblical insight. The women who attend will not only have fun but take home a lot to chew on.”

Early on, Caraccio realized that she needed a co-teacher, and that person was Johnson.

“The community needs to understand the value of what she says,” Caraccio says. “You cannot convince the younger generation that this program is valuable unless you give them an experience they value. Roxanne will give these ladies a taste of what she does.”

“I’ll be rounding out and supplementing Jennifer’s presentation,” Johnson says.

Establishing context, custom and culture, she says, provides critical understanding of the text. “People can find importance and significance when we add richness to the story line.”

Johnson has taught Bible history in South Rowan schools for the past 27 years.

“The classes are taught from a nondenominational perspective,” she says. “Biblical literacy is my goal, to share information on biblical customs, culture, literature and music. We expose but we don’t impose. I hope that the women who attend this retreat will come away with an appreciation of the Bible. There’s more to it than you expect.”

The retreat will center on Closer Looks, two scripture passages in the New Testament in which Jesus encounters women.

Registration for the retreat is still open. A love offering will be collected both days. Take Heart T-shirts and bags — Caraccio designed the logo — will also be sold.

Local videographer Jonathan Weaver created a promotional video for the retreat, which is on Caraccio’s Facebook page under Jennifer Smith Caraccio or on the South Rowan Bible Boosters page.

Caraccio has a teaching background, having been a Title I teacher and substitute teacherduring the spring semester. She has long been comfortable in front of groups and hopes the retreat will serve as a springboard to speaking at others.

The team notes that Take Heart is a nondenominational program.

“We want it to be a gathering for all ages and stages,” Caraccio says.

To register for Take Heart: A Love Encounter With Jesus, go to eventbrite.com by searching “take heart” under events. For questions or to contact Jennifer Caraccio, email srbibleboosters@gmail.com.






Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending


Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City


Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow


Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh


California population declines for first time


GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending


Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem


Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes


Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title


Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game


County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money


Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury


At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’


COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary


More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot


City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year


Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots


Quotes of the week


Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days


Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site


City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide


City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras