What is a Retreat?
We use the word retreat as a chosen time and place to intentionally ‘step-out’ of your daily activity to a real place of calm & safety; to temporarily ‘take a break’ by removing yourself from the usual environment, schedule or daily responsibilities in order to become immersed in God’s presence around a particular focus, theme or experience. Spiritual retreats allow time for reflection, prayer, or meditation. For Christians, retreats are seen as a time of self-reflection mirroring Christ's forty days in the desert before he started his formal ministry.
We believe retreats are a necessary and important part of one’s spiritual health, growth and creative expression. Some of the intentions for experiencing a retreat may be: to deepen your spirituality, for stress relief, to focus on healthy living, to make a lifestyle change, or to engage in a specific social or ecological concern. A simple option is to take a few moments each day to retreat in a focused, quiet way.
Anyone! We believe retreats can be a time of solitude or a community experience. Some retreats are held in silence, while others may involve a great deal of conversation and group process. This will depend on the intention of the participant(s) and the accepted practices of the host facility. Groups may wish to hold a retreat to focus members on key issues such as goals for ministry and missions, prayer and problem solving or creative imaging and activity.
When to Retreat?
Anytime! The timing is really up to you or your group. Some retreats may happen spontaneously - however most retreats take some thought and planning. A good time to plan for a retreat is when you want to spend time by yourself, God or others and the timing ‘feels right’. If this is a first time experience for you, check out an established group or retreat center and join a program already scheduled.
Where to Retreat?
Anywhere! Retreats are often conducted at rural or remote locations, either privately, or at a retreat center such as a monastery. One way is to create a small space in your home – a chair, bench outdoors or other spot that encourages you to breathe and center yourself. Being out in nature is always a great place to start. There are many retreat facilities available within an hour’s drive for many people. Church camps and conference centers offer a wide range of amenities from very rustic to a full range of programs and services.