Winter is coldly here ... spring is on the horizon ... and already unbidden thoughts about going somewhere different or special in the summer flit across our minds. Somewhere to allow ourselves the space to BE; to soak in some peace and quiet; maybe some time focusing on the Lord and on our relationship with Him.
We know the very place, and this summer we would like to invite you to join us, as our guests.
In late September, Ministries by Design will be opening The Vine@Mays Farm, offering a place for retreat, a spiritual sanctuary from noise and bustle, with visitors taking part in various types of retreats, or coming for a private visit, whether for a day or for a longer period.
At the end of the building project, and before we officially open, we are offering a few preview retreats at no charge (although we will welcome any offers of help with paintbrushes, brooms etc! and any donations are always acceptable, as MbD is a registered charity).
Why are we doing this? Several reasons!
- We have been blessed already by many many people as we launch out into our new venture. (If you missed the announcement about our moving to Mays Farm, you can read the article here) And we want to bless others. We want to bless you. Come and experience the peace and the quiet, the opportunity to draw aside from a busy life and enjoy a few special days.
- But also, honestly, we need some 'guinea-pigs!' A few people who will come on retreat and then tell us how it was and what is good and what might be improved.
- Some people like to have something to do manually for an hour or two during a retreat; and there will be gardening or decorating, or tidying once the builders have gone; or curtains to hem or raspberries to pick .... and if you wanted to help in that way for a couple of hours each day, it would be much appreciated. It's not compulsory - although it would be an enormous help!
The house will have 5 bedrooms, each with sitting areas, and with private ensuite facilities. You can relax in your room, in the Library or the Drawing room, in the chapel, the walled orchard and grounds, the local countryside ...
All retreats are full board - breakfast, lunch, dinner are all included, tea and coffee making facilities in each room.
There are 2 different retreats and each will happen at least once in July/August/September
1. A WALKING RETREAT - get fit spiritually AND physically!
Arrive on a Monday afternoon, settle in with a cup of tea. First session, then supper. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, after a buffet breakfast, Penelope will lead you on one of several local walks, each of about 6 miles, with opportunities for spiritual reflections and meditations as we walk. Return for lunch and spend the afternoons as you wish to make the most of this time - praying, sitting in the chapel, journalling, sleeping; and hopefully helping out manually for a couple of hours. There will be a short session each day before Supper, which will be followed by compline and early nights. Final session on Friday morning, and leave after a light lunch. Maximum of 10 people, in en-suite twin bedded rooms.
2. A GUIDED SILENT RETREAT - to concentrate on your relationship with God
Arrive on a Monday afternoon, settle in, enjoy tea. First session, then supper, compline and early bed, after which we will move into silence. Breakfast will be served in your room to allow time to rest, reflect, be renewed. Each day there will be individual time with a Spiritual Director, and there will be guidance if required as to how to get the most from this time. There will be opportunity to help manually around the Centre for a couple of hours each day. Meals will be taken in communal silence or you may take your meal to your room if you wish. Leave after a final time with your Director on Friday morning followed by a light lunch if required. Maximum of 5 people, in private en-suite rooms.
Of course, we risk a lot doing this - you might sign up, then as you haven't paid anything, pull out at the last minute! Or you might come and not like it at all and write us a bad review. Or you might not help out manually as needed. But we believe that the Lord is calling us to this, blessing us with so much in this new home and with opportunities for ministry, and in turn we want to bless you. We hope you will know the Lord's richest blessings when you come, and that you will then want to come again, and recommend it to others to come, too. We hope and pray that The Vine@Mays Farm will be one of those 'special places' for many of us, a place where one slips easily into a different rhythm with God, a place to hear His Voice and seek His guidance.
Oh, did I tell you that Mays Farm is just 1hr 40 mins drive from London (M4 jct 17) , easily accessible by mainline trains (Chippenham), near to Bristol, Cheltenham, Oxford, Birmingham, and on the edge of beautiful Cotswold countryside? Come and enjoy!
If you would be interested in being invited to one of these special retreats for free, as a guinea pig, then email me! (see below) and DO PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS TOO! (men and women all welcomed, but we will take care with room allocation!!!!!)
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COMMIT NOW - just express your real interest and ask for an application form. If you are accepted you will be sent the details and the dates soon, and then you can sign up to come.
If you would like an application form for an invite to the free retreats, please email me now:
stating why you think it would be good for you to come and which of the two retreats you would prefer.