A Letter from the Cecil Berlie Family

Hello COS Friends!

We have just returned from the board meeting in St. Paul, MN. It reminded us of how much we love our times with our COS friends and the encouragement we receive. What a refreshing time it was as we prepared to welcome you to St. Paul, Minnesota this June 14-18 for the COS Annual Meeting!

The 2023 meeting will be held at the beautiful St. Paul Hotel. Regarded as one of the nation’s premier historic hotels, The St. Paul Hotel has been recognized by publications and organizations from across the country. We are looking forward to seeing its beautiful gardens in June and enjoying its historic charm, friendly service, and delicious food. [You can book your room at this link and then in the “Rate Type” drop down select “I have a code,” then select “Group/Block” and enter code 61423COS.]

The Ophthalmologists will have an incredible opportunity for 18.50 hours of Continuing Medical Education. We will be hearing from experts such as Tom Samuelson, Dave Hardten, James O’Brien, Preeti Thyparampil, and many others covering a wide variety of topics from pediatrics to parasitic disease and diabetic retinopathy to biometry. We will also have two special guest speakers that you will not want to miss.

We look forward to seeing our Foster A Missionary (FAM) Wendy Hofman and her family. We want to invite your whole family to attend the ice cream social on Saturday night where we will hear how the Lord has been working in Gabon, Africa. This time of fellowship and hearing of God’s work around the world has become a favorite for our family each year at COS. We will also be introduced to the new FAM missionary.

Another highlight for us as a couple is the annual banquet, which will be held this year on Friday night and will include a delicious meal, a time of worship, resident testimonies, and the J. Lawton Smith Award presentation. Paula Dunn and her teen daughter, Emma will be leading us in worship. Paula has been using her dynamic voice and her unique story to encourage, challenge and inspire groups of all ages for over 30 years. She began performing at the age of 14 and has released 12 solo albums. She and her daughter are currently recording a new worship album together. We also look forward to them leading worship for the women and children’s sessions, then again at our Sunday morning worship service. The worship time we have together with our COS family refreshes our hearts and encourages us in our walk with the Lord.

I (Debbie) love the time to gather in the female spouse sessions. I come home refreshed in the Lord and am reminded of my identity in Him. In addition to Paula and Emma leading us in worship, Maggie Combs will be sharing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. You may have read her books or heard Maggie on The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Revive Our Hearts, or The Journeywomen Podcast. Maggie enjoys discipling women in her local church and through writing. Her topics at the St. Paul meeting will center around “Holding Fast to Hope.” I am so looking forward to her talks.

Male spouses of female ophthalmologists will also gather for fun and fellowship led by Jim Meyer. If you want to reach out to Jim, he can be contacted at 816-686-8035 or talljimjr@gmail.com.

The children’s program will be led by Mandy Colette Moltz, who is a children’s director at a church in the Twin Cities. Her greatest passion is teaching kids about Christ’s love for them and helping them identify as a child of God. We look forward to welcoming your children to a time to grow in Him, meet new friends, and reacquaint with friends made at prior meetings. Children’s sessions will occur at the same time as the women’s spouse sessions and during the banquet.

On Sunday morning, we will come together for a worship service. Paula and Emma will lead us in worship music and Roger Cabe will have a message from God’s Word.

One of our family’s favorite parts of the COS Annual Meeting is exploring various areas of the United States. This year, a variety of activities and things to do await in the Twin Cities of Minnesota! If you are flying in, before landing try to catch a glimpse of all the lakes out the window of the airplane. Some popular activities in St. Paul include:

  • a narrated sightseeing cruise on the Mississippi River, 
  • Science Museum of Minnesota,
  • Summit Avenue and Grand Avenue,
  • James J. Hill House, 
  • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory,
  • Landmark Center, and
  • the Classical Renaissance-style Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Don’t miss the Peanuts character statues featured around the area of the hotel.

The Mall of America is close to the MSP airport and besides shopping (no sales tax charged in MN on clothing), it houses:

  • Nickelodeon Universe (a 7-acre amusement park),
  • SeaLife Minnesota Aquarium,
  • Lego store, and
  • MANY restaurants.



Lastly, one unique experience at this year’s conference will be a tea time offered by the hotel on Saturday afternoon. This two-hour event is fashioned after England’s afternoon (high) tea and consists of a variety of tea sandwiches, savory scones and two tiers of sweets. A pianist entertains throughout. Seats are very limited and sell out months in advance, so do not delay getting your ticket if you want to attend the tea.  Reservations can be made directly with the hotel here. Please mention COS Group in the comments to help in being seated together.

We hope you and your family are able to join us in St. Paul this June!

For His Glory,
Cecil, Debbie, Nathan, and Aaron Berlie

“Out of the north he comes in golden splendor:
God comes in awesome majesty.”

~ Job 37:22