Retreats are for everybody – for ordinary people at any time in our lives, giving us the chance to step aside from life for a while, to rest and become refreshed in a nurturing and peaceful environment. While many retreat goers seek a development or renewal in their relationship with God, you don’t need to be a churchgoer or support any religious movement to consider going on retreat. In fact, whatever their roots, most retreat centres will warmly welcome all visitors, from any faith or none, aiming both to make you feel at home and comfortable, and to help you get the most out of your time with them.
Types of retreats
There are many styles of retreat. Some are firmly linked with a particular religious denomination or form of worship, and many others, even run at the same retreat houses, will be more ecumenical in approach. There are organised and themed retreats, as well as places to go as a private retreatant with as much or little structure as you want. Many retreats focus predominantly on prayer, meditation and contemplation, with input and guidance from a minister or trained spiritual director, and with periods – or the whole retreat – conducted in silence. Again others will feature gentle pursuits, such as art, walking, poetry study, stick-making, photography, needlework – to name but a few – to help in the contemplative process. There is no pressure to take part in any activity.
If you have not been on a retreat before, you will no doubt be unsure about what you are likely to ﬁnd, so you might like to take a look at our advice on what to expect, or check out some of the links available in our Links & Resources section. Along with our friends at the Retreat Association, of which the APR is a founding member group, we will always be glad to answer any questions you have.