In an effort to support the work of Retreat Houses across the UK following the Coronavirus pandemic, APR Trustees sent all the APR member houses a financial gift this summer, to help them advertise their re-opening to guests. As well as many kind emails and telephone calls of thanks, some of the more lengthy responses are given below:

APR Help for Houses after the pandemic

Launde Abbey, Leics,used the money to create an installation in their chapel (picture above left) to give thanks for the resumption of regular worship. Warden, David Newman, writes, ‘Having to remove over half our chairs left a feeling of empty space which seemed just to speak of loss. We wanted to speak also of this being space for God and for his renewal, and so have created a river flowing through the middle of the chapel with plants symbolising new life as in Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22…. It has been a tangible way of demonstrating a new start that is both safe and creative. And we have been encouraged by both the number of people who are returning for retreats and their response to being here.’

Holy Rood House in North Yorkshire writes, ‘We were delighted to receive the APR gift – what a lovely surprise, we really feel supported by this. With limited capacity, we are preparing to use using our ‘spaces’ differently, hugely increasing our on-line presence and using our beautiful garden to a much greater extent (above middle). We have been thinking along the lines of using the garden for an event to re-connect with our local community and this gift will certainly help’.

Maggie Kingston, who runs Peastwing, Worcs, writes, ‘Thank you very much for the cheque. I will use it towards a quiet day exploring my small labyrinth (above left) and hope to introduce more people to the value of time spent in inner reflection with time just to be. There is a fire pit space next to the labyrinth so it can be a real experience of the 4 elements interweaving, as the site is next to a stream and has a special energy. Thanks and Peace be with you’.

Vicki, from the Abbey, Sutton Courtenay, wrote, ‘I am writing to thank Promoting Retreats for the generous donation. We can’t use it towards a public tea party, we have been rushed off our feet with a skeleton crew and simply don’t have the capacity to host something like this at this time. However, we are in the process of creating a new social bubble and individual extended retreat page on our website, and will use your donation to help promote this online, through Facebook, Instagram and other retreat directories’.

Marianne, from the Bield at Blackruthven, wrote, ‘We were touched by your kind gesture in giving us a donation towards our reopening. Please pass on our thanks to the Trustees.

We reopened a week ago … So many new routines to learn and so much added work. But messages from a dozen guests over the week were positive saying they felt safe and held, and that the Spirit of peace and healing remains the same! We are grateful. This photo shows our Chapel beautifully decorated in celebration of the reopening, a collaboration between our gardener, Pamela Grossi and art facilitator Liz Crichton’