The Archbishop of Canterbury invited Trustees of the APR to Lambeth recently, for a conversation about how to better promote retreats throughout the Church of England. It was a very positive meeting. Archbishop Justin spoke both of his enthusiasm for encouraging prayer, and of his support the work of the APR as we promote the benefits of both retreats and Quiet Days, and support the work of Retreat Houses across the country, and beyond. In particular, he emphasised the value to everyone in ministry of taking regular time out to nurture their own relationships with God, saying that, ‘Evangelism or witness can only be genuine when it comes from an overflow of the love of God’.
The APR autumn retreat, held at St. Columba’s House, Woking from 6-8 November, was a refreshing and prayerful event, attended by 16 people from across the UK. Lavishly illustrating his words with a range of colourful and engaging icons, Bishop John invited participants into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. He also drew inspiration from writers as diverse as St Augustine and the Desert Fathers, St Thérèse of Liseaux, C.S. Lewis and Jean Vanier.
The retreat was punctuated with meditative and prayerful services in the spacious chapel at St Columba’s, and both the food and accommodation at St Columba’s were excellent. Even the vibrant autumn colours of the trees in and around the grounds contributed to what was a really meaningful and profound experience.
A full review of the Retreat, Take off your Shoes - A Review, can be found by clicking here.
The APR website is expanding, with a range of new resources soon to be available – the first of these are already published under the tab, ‘Signposts for Spiritual Growth’. These ‘signposts’ direct readers to a wealth of top-quality pages across the internet, concerning all aspect of prayer, spiritual formation, and growth in faith.
The pages, ‘Encountering Spirituality’, will be a virtual library of documents exploring both traditional spiritualities, contemporary role models and ‘life moments and transitions’, and are due to be published soon. Later this year, we will also be publishing a ‘Marketing Tool-Kit for Retreat Centres/Houses’.