Autumn Reflections 18-23 September 2015

What does it mean to be rooted? This retreat takes place at the time of the Autumn Equinox, a time when the winds blow, the periods of light grow shorter and those of darkness increase. It is a time for gathering in the harvest, letting go of things that have served their purpose, planning and planting for the future, preparing for the winter and taking stock of our resources.

Our current culture defines us by our roles within society and relationships with our immediate circle. Valuable though these are, they are vulnerable and can disappear at any time. Yet there are also times when our needs, undefined questions and yearnings are met in unexpected ways and by unexpected people, times when we know in a real and deep way that we are part of a much bigger whole, the natural world, God, that which is beyond us. What does it mean to belong?

Belonging to any group brings with it security, freedoms, rights and responsibilities. Belonging in this deeper, spiritual, sense brings with it an acceptance of the need to not only answer, but to be answerable to, that of God in each other and in the world. How strongly rooted are we in our faith and in our communities to be nurtured and sustained through the difficulties we will inevitable face?

We will spend time exploring how a sense of belonging can allow for, prepare us for and sustain us through change and growth, using extracts from Quaker and other writings, creative sessions, meditation, story-telling, labyrinths, qigong, walks, stillness and worship-sharing. On the last evening of the retreat, depending on the weather, we hope to be able to share songs, supper, poems, readings and epilogue round an equinox bonfire.

You are welcome to arrive at any time from 4pm on the Friday. We anticipate that not everyone will be able to stay for the whole retreat, and charges, on a sliding scale, are therefore; £140-£90 for the weekend, £50-£30 a day Sunday to Wednesday, fully catered.

We also, as always, welcome those wishing to stay after the retreat on a self-catering basis. For such guests we will offer a daily session with space to reflect on what has arisen during the retreat. There will also be the opportunity, if wished, to stay on for our Work and Worship weekend (26th – 27th) offering the chance to participate in the physical work of the Community on the Saturday and to join in the Hope Valley Meeting for Worship on Sunday morning. The Work and Worship weekends are fully catered and we ask for a payment of £40.