The third Preview (ie, free but you are a glamping guinea pig) has just ended. What a fun week we had! Eleven of us in the house, just as the weather decided not to be quite so nice. Rain in the mornings - so there were work parties on the stairs and landing and in the hall, sanding and filling and painting and decorating. The angelic sounds of singing voices came wafting down the stairs where they intermingled with the iPad playing worship music. There was a plastic shower cap on one head to avoid paint splashes; rubber gloves on various hands; much fun and laughter. One bedroom door (Stamford) even has its first coat of gloss - which is a first for the whole house! There are miles and miles of skirting boards yet to be glossed ... And in the afternoons we set off to walk. 5 miles across the fields to Surrendell and back; 6 miles round trip to gloriously pretty Castle Combe; and a mere 2.5 miles to circumnavigate historic Malmesbury before investigating the ancient Abbey. And on the feedback forms inevitably a mix: we walked too far - or not far enough; we walked too quickly - or not fast enough. But Gracie the dog loved it all and enjoyed whichever walk we did.
There was Compline by candlelight in the Library; Lectio Divina one evening, Ignatian Contemplative prayer another. And we finished by sharing in Communion together on Friday morning. The days had flown past and the Lord had graciously met with people in various ways and at various times. Farewells were made with hugs and hugging as email and contact details were exchanged. The Lord brought people together in extraordinarily deep ways in such a short time.
"A strong sense of God's blessing on this place already."
"Three full days was too short!"
"Appreciated being involved and playing a small part at the outset."
"Would definitely like to come back either on my own or to bring a group."
"God really spoke to me in that meditation - I've never experienced Scripture like that before!"
"God was certainly blessing me over these few days and I hope to continue feeling blessed as I take Mays Farm back with me to my life at home."
"Thanks for the quiet times spent together getting into God's Word - very helpful."
And so the work continues. And the retreats keep going - we are just starting the Preview cycle again, of individual retreats, then a Guided Silent Retreat and then another Walking Retreat. And next weekend, the first time that a small group will be here - 7 or 8 of them coming together, building their friendship and fellowship through being here, working on a project . The Courtyard is currently being re-laid and we are down to 2 or 3 builders and decorators a day - very quiet after the 8 -10 men we had each day at one stage!
We are now taking bookings for the autumn, and the house will be almost finished. It won't be completely finished - there isn't the finances to do it all right now, as we have not been able to sell our cottage so the money is running out . There's no refurbishing and finishing of the office or the chapel, and we are sad about the chapel as it will be such a vital part of the ministry. The lovely Drawing Room, also for the use of guests, will not be usable yet either. There's no summer house to sit in - just the foundations; but that can wait for another year; and the decorating will not be finished .. we shall sit and paint gloss work for days to come, but that's all right.
It's the Chapel in particular we are concerned about.
Might you pray that the money will be provided for this? That somehow, from somewhere, the Lord would enable the Chapel to be finished and fitted out, so that we can have it for services and celebrations, for devotional times and for spiritual direction times. For groups to use and for individuals to sit and pray. And if you are able to contribute financially that would be amazing too, either for the finishing of the Chapel, or to establish a bursary fund to enable those to come who might not otherwise be able to - such as younger clergy.
But most of all we would love for you to pray for this new ministry and for those coming who need this place of spiritual sanctuary, a place of refreshment and renewal, a of retreat and restoration.
How you can help:
Please come - and enjoy a retreat at Mays Farm
Please tell others
Please bring others
and maybe begin by sharing this blog post?
THANK YOU - You are MUCH appreciated!