No. 7's First Personalised Retreat

I celebrated my birthday with a meal at Shalom, on Holy Island, cooked by Carol, our host. Our trustees, Janet and Ray Bissex and Geoff and Joy Holt, our Open Gate Wardens, Kevin and Lesley Downham, and my P.A. Brenda shared in this delightful evening. Among a glittering array of birthday card quotes was this, by Albert Camus: 'In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer'. A day or two later my neighbour Richard took me out to a really, really local pub for a pint.

The following day the first ever 36 hour personalised retreat hosted from No. 7 Wallace Green took place. The retreatant had come by train from an inner city. How does a 'village of God' emerge in a deprived housing estate? Some networks encourage such would-be pioneers to adopt the APEST model: the core group need to have an Apostle, a Prophet, an Evangelist, a Shepherd and a Teacher (Ephesians 4:11). However, these are examples, they are not prescriptive. The retreatant wanted to explore further models, such as the monastic, because he wanted his core pioneer group to build community at the heart of this needy area. For this to happen a spiritual parent (abba and/or amma) may be needed, as well as a prior (manager) and a spiritual discernment accompanier, or soul friend.

Posted at 07:16am on 13th March 2017
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