banner December 2013
A Prayer at Christmas

Gracious God, here we are, on the move once again, on our way back to Bethlehem. We bring our gifts: thankful hearts for the year soon to be history, communities of faith that inspire and guide us. We humbly bring ourselves to be a blessing to others as we continue in Your service. We remember with gratitude how You have led Tres Dias in the past, and as we move ahead, we are confident that You will lead us now.

     We pause at the threshold of this Holy Season to experience once again the wonder, the love, and the praise of the Holy Child who grew to show us what You are like, and who died on the cross so we would know how much You love us.

     Loving Lord, as we look forward, the way is cloudy and uncertain. Walk with us, Lord Jesus. Help us not simply to "Keep Christ in Christmas," but to make you the Primary Presence of all our journeying into tomorrow.

     Fill us and use us, Precious Savior.  




Blessings to each one of you in Christ's Name, Rev. Hal Vink


The President's Letter


Greetings to Tres Dias Communities around the world!

We at International are lifting you up in prayer and asking God to richly bless you and all of the churches in your community.  

     It's appropriate that our feature story gives us the extraordinary opportunity to see what is happening in seven Tres Dias communities across the country by looking at their websites. Don't miss that opportunity! As you read, click on the URL for each website. There will be a split second delay, then the images of that community will come to life on your screen--you'll find inspirational messages, news about weekends and secuelas, and pictures of a Christian Community in action-people like yourself who are praising God and using their talents to serve their Lord. If you don't have time now to interact with each of the websites, flag this email and come back to it, perhaps in early January.

     Don't miss the two poignant stories that follow. They illustrate how God's love flows through the community of faith to touch people's lives during the Tres Dias weekend and beyond.

     As the report from our Membership Committee shows, the International Secretariat is continuing to focus on becoming a service and resource center for our communities. In addition to changes in the Tres Dias Fund, modifications of the Emerging Community Agreement, and the development of a training school for new community liaisons, we are converting all print material into an "electronic library," so that these can be available, without charge, to all Tres Dias communities.

    We are also collecting "best practice" information, such as presented in our feature story. If your community has had exceptional success with some aspect of your community activities, please consider telling our editors about it. At the same time, if you have need of best practices advice on something, please send us the request. Our editors will see what connections they can develop.

     Thanks to my good friend, Rev. Hal Vink, for providing our opening prayer. Rev. Vink is a spiritual director in the Fairfield County TD community and served on the Blue Ribbon Committee, which revised and edited the talks for the Tres Dias Guide for Team Members currently in use.

     May peace and joy overflow in your lives this Christmas and be with you throughout the year.


In Christ,
Bruce Cato

President, Tres Dias International Secretariat
            A best practices article
Our Websites Show Who We Are...
                           And What we Do 
By Jan Coleman


With the average person spending 30 hours a month surfing the Internet, a good community website is a must these days. As a writer, one of the first tips I gleaned from a literary agent---with everything you write, consider the reader. Who is your audience and what do they want? It's the same with websites. What is the site's main purpose? To provide information about the local Tres Dias community, of course. But to whom? After being invited to weekend, what do potential pilgrims/candidates usually do? Head for the computer and research online. They want to see what this weekend is all about. Pescadores will come to seek resources. They want access to sponsor applications and updates on meetings and events.

     It's tempting to launch a website, and then update it once in a while. But successful websites have one thing in common: they are current-- content is added frequently. "But, we have so much to do already, and we're all volunteers," you might say. True, and most of us don't have a web whiz on standby. What can we do? One option is to use more social media--make the most of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because they are interactive. They connect people, and making connections is what TD is all about.

     For example, check out the way Birmingham TD ( uses Twitter. Under their menu bar, "community," visitors learn that "Tres Dias has a vibrant volunteer community...." If you're intrigued, click and you'll be invited to "join us on Twitter." Birmingham members post comments that stir others to add more remarks. These conversations bring a vibrant freshness to the site. If I'm a curious potential candidate, it won't take long to discover that this community has a bunch of folks who seriously love Jesus and are eager to share that love.

     A TD website can also be a ministry tool. Visit the Tres Dias North Georgia site ( and you are instantly drawn to the bog posts. Browse "From our Chairman's Heart," and be touched by his vulnerability, the way he seeks wisdom in leading the community. The scriptures he uses for examples inspire me. Then, on the "testimonials" link, you'll find pescadores' remarks like, "God orchestrates the details that just overflow the love cup of the people who participate," for example. If I were trying to decide whether to commit to a Tres Dias weekend, this might be the tipping point.

     I'm a fan of websites that help debunk the myths about Tres Dias. I like sites that say, This is who we are and what we do. Abundant Life Tres Dias ( makes this their mantra. "Our aim is to be transparent as we conduct the business of ALTD." They provide copies of TD essentials, their community bylaws, their team training manual, and their policies and procedures. It's full disclosure in this community.

     Music City ( and North Florida ( make signing up for the team a breeze. Simply complete the application online and submit it instantly. I'm impressed with Music City's insightful questions to prospective team: "What do you hope to contribute to this weekend? What do you hope to gain? How can you, with the Lord's help, best use your assets for MCTD?"

     Some communities encourage candidates to apply directly online by downloading the application. This might not go over in some communities who prefer that the sponsor and candidate fill it out together. Still, having this capability available is definitely a plus when considering website options. So is the ability to make donations online through PayPal or similar service..

     To see an attention grabbing site, check Kansas City Tres Dias ( They know that Internet surfers seldom read--they scan--so the KCTD site is easy to navigate, as well. Land on their home page and you are stirred by photos of smiling pescadores and their quotes about the impact of Tres Dias. The photos are continually streaming which adds more interest. But this site is more than just fine design and a pretty home page; it offers first-rate content. Most impressive are the biographies of pescadores, telling how they are servant leaders outside Tres Dias. I've added this to our idea file for our community as we redesign our site in the near future.

     Photo galleries are a great personal touch.  Prospective candidates checking out Central Savannah River Area Tres Dias ( can peruse candid photos of team meetings and sequelas. If I were wondering what kind of people are involved in this organization, I would see these photos and think: Hey these are normal people just like me, and this could be fun.


Our websites should reflect who we are and what we do best. They should be fresh and dynamic, never static and dull. They should echo what new pescadores communicate at closing: Tres Dias is a spiritually exhilarating experience.


Jan Coleman is a member of the Northern California Community and a co-editor for this publication.

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Stories from the Weekend

Many of us have had moments on a weekend when we felt a special closeness to our Lord and knew that His Spirit was working in our lives in an exceptional way. Here are two such stories....please tell us yours by emailing to 



Remembering the Power of Prayer


"....stress those things which the Christian denominations have in common              

 and respect those things which are different."

    The Essentials of Tres Dias

This phrase from the Tres Dias Essentials took on an especially powerful meaning this fall, when the Fairfield County community said farewell to the sisters at the Nazareth Spiritual Life Center in Monroe, Connecticut, where the community had held its weekends for the past decade. In addition to being a retreat facility, the center served as a retirement home for the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, an apostolic order founded in1875 with a special ministry to support family life. But the center had been sold to make room for development, and both the sisters and Fairfield County

 Chapel at the Nazareth Center.

Tres Dias needed to find new homes.

     Speaking at a special ceremony prior to the closing of Women's Weekend 98, members from the Fairfield community recalled events that took the relationship beyond anything one might expect, giving special recognition to Sister Bernice, director for the center, and her assistant, Sister Joan.

    On the Thursday afternoon prior to the first weekend in the facility, Sister Bernice greeted the team and told them the sisters had been praying that Fairfield County TD would be given permission to use their facility from the time the community applied. She wanted the tea to know that the sisters would be praying for the team and candidates throughout the next three days.

    Sister loved the skits, even when they featured her! She would sometimes sit on the top steps of the rollo room, invisible to the team and candidates, laughing at skits she had been invited to watch.

    Kathy Welch of the Fairfield community recalled an especially poignant memory from the Women's 85A weekend. The leadership team shared their concern with Sister Bernice that the candidates were not responding to the Stations of the Cross as we expected. She promised that the sisters would pray for the candidates' hearts to be opened - and they were.

    Sister also asked the team to pray for a young woman, the niece of one of the sisters, who was in critical condition and not expected to survive the night. "We asked the candidates to join us in praying each day," Kathy recalled. "On Sunday, Sister came in to announce that the young woman and her newborn were both fine and expected to leave the hospital - a miracle that set the rollo room to cheering and praising God!"

    It was a perfect demonstration of the ecumenical nature of Tres Dias -joining in prayer and in celebration of answered prayer, celebrating those things we have in common and respecting our differences.

    The ceremony closed with members of the Fairfield community laying hands on Sisters Bernice and Joan and blessing them as they moved on to serve the Lord in mew locations.


Based on story by Kathy Welch written for the Fairfield TD newsletter.



Learning to Forgive


By Judith Herren 

When my Baptist pastor invited me to attended Tres Dias in South Georgia in the spring of 1992, he said the weekend would be "a personal experience with the Lord." His words intrigued me so I registered for the upcoming weekend.

     I went feeling superior in spiritual knowledge. I left with the humbling realization that I had not measured up spiritually.

      I remember one night in particular. I could not sleep. I had some wounds from the past and I could not rid myself of the hurt. The Lord placed it in my heart to go home and speak with my family about it as soon after the weekend as I could. I said in prayer, "Jesus, I know you want me to talk about this with my loved ones, but it hurts too much. I cannot bring myself to share the pain. I wish there were some sort of anesthesia to numb the hurt." Immediately an image of Jesus hanging on the cross for all sin came to mind. In an instant I knew that he provided anesthesia for every human hurt.


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (Isa. 53:4-53:5b)


        Jesus is the source of my righteousness. He is the sinless one that Father God sent to take away the sins of the world. He is the one who takes away my sins and enables me to forgive those who have sinned against me. It is not my gifting, my works or my spiritual knowledge that makes me holy. It is Jesus.

     A prayerful encounter with Jesus on my Tres Dias weekend enabled me to be free of past hurts. The Bible says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Need I say more? Yes, I will say more... whom the Son sets free is free indeed!


Judith is a member of the CSRA community and serves as financial secretary for the International Secretariat

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 News From The International Secretariat

Membership Committeemembership 

By Frank Yarbrough  

All of us on the Membership Committee would like to wish all of the Tres Dias communities from around the world a very blessed and merry Christmas.

      We have been working hard this year to be of better service to our communities.Let me point out two important changes.

      The Tres Dias Fund was transferred to the Membership Committee so that we might be better able to serve communities needing temporary support in getting past a crisis point. This fund is also positioned to aid new communities in getting started. The money in the fund comes from donations, from communities as well as individuals. If you would like to donate, contact me at and I will be happy to explain how. 

      At the Secretariat meeting this past October [2013], the Membership Committee drafted and adopted a document titled "New Emerging Community Agreement, Procedures and Best Practices Model." This replaces the previous emerging community agreement and associated guidelines. For the first time, a new community will have support from both the sponsoring community and the Tres Dias International Secretariat (TDI). These two entities will work together to guide the community from the initial building process through to chartering. A liaison from TDI, a liaison from the sponsoring community, and the emerging community itself have distinctive roles and responsibilities:

     The TDI liaison will be trained so that he or she can provide oversight and guidance to the sponsoring community and the emerging community, as well as Essentials training and other training at the proper times. This is being directed by the Membership Committee under its charge from the Tres Dias International Secretariat to "foster and guide" the growth of the Tres Dias Movement, and to "assure continued adherence" to the Essentials of Tres Dias.

     The sponsoring community liaison will encourage and support the leaders of the newly forming community by providing leadership, guidance, support, and oversight in a loving manner. The role of the sponsoring community may or may not include financial support. However, any solicitations to other Tres Dias communities must come through the sponsoring community and be approved first by the Tres Dias International Membership Committee.

   The role of the emerging community is to build their new community on the principles provided under this agreement, with the help of the sponsoring community liaison and the TDI Membership Committee liaison. While the sponsoring community liaison may make suggestions, the emerging community is free to choose their own name, traditions, and activities, within the framework of the Tres Dias Essentials.


 All New Emerging Communities starting up and the existing Emerging Communities will now use The New Model.

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An Alert from the Membership Committee!

We need information in order to better serve the communities  

  • If you know about any "orphaned pescadores" (pescadores that are in an area where there is no Tres Dias community nearby) please send me an email with their name and contact information.
  • If you are a spiritual director and would like to bless other communities that are short on qualified spiritual directors by serving in these communities, please email me with your contact information.
  •  If you are interested in blessing a new or emerging community by being a team member on one of their weekends, send me your name and contact information.
  • If you have any questions or concerns that the Membership Committee might be able to help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to Serve you.

Frank Yarbrough  

Vice President Membership

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Welcome these Newly Chartered Communities!

(Chartered between September 2012 and July 2013)


Brazos Valley Tres Dias, Normangee, TX

Heart of Texas Tres Dias, Mansfield, TX 

Lehigh Valley Tres Dias, Allentown, PA

Irvine Tres Dias (Korean), Irvine, CA

Lviv Tres Dias, Lviv, Ukraine 

Northern California Tres Dias, Sacramento Area

Tres Dias of Danmark, Varming Vesteby,Denmark

South Central Kentucky Tres Dias, Salem Circle, Ky  


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Future Meetings

March 7-9, 2014: SecretariatSabine Creek TD (45 min NE of Dallas)
July 25-27, 2014: Assembly & SecretariatTD of North Georgia (Atlanta area)
October 10-12: SecretariatNorthern Virginia TD
March 13-15, 2015: SecretariatWaiting confirmation
July 10-12, 2015: Assembly & SecretariatAbundant Life TD, Rockford, IL
October 2015 (dates TBD): SecretariatTBD
March 4-6, 2016: SecretariatTampa Bay TD (location TBD)

Information about the Stained Glass Window
In Our Opening Frame

In addition to the Epiphany star, the window depicts three crowns for the three Kings. The lilies at the left are a traditional symbol of the Annunciation. The large sunflower, with the Chi Rho in the center, is a symbol of Christ. It also symbolizes man turning toward Christ, because of the way the sunflower turns toward the sun. The window is from St. John's Vianney Catholic Church, Louisville, Kentucky.

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The Colors of Tres Dias International is published by the Services Committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.  Don Bohl and Jan Coleman are co-editors. Ned Heffington chairs the committee and serves as associate editor and proofreader. Send comments to
Our objective is to publish six issues a year. To read prior issues, use this link: Newsletter Archive

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