Thursday, 20 October 2011

On Retreating

I am deeply indebted to the Retreat Movement for the way it has enhanced and deepened my own spiritual journey over these last twenty years.

Baptists can be a noisey people - and the formation of the Baptist Union Retreat Group (BURG) in 1988 brought something fresh to many of us - an opportunity to share, along with other Baptist friends, Quiet Days and Retreats where silence rather than worship songs became the norm.  If Baptists brought anything to 'the table' when it came to Quiet Prayer it has been our love of scripture. 

I joined BURG soon after its formation and have served on its Committee now for a number of years and currently have the privilege of being its Chair. 

A number of 'threads' have come together in my own mind on the theme of 'retreating' over recent weeks.

...Brian Howden, the Secretary of The Baptist Union Retreat Group, has written a brilliant article in our current Journal about his experience of leading, alongside a team of others, a week of Guided Prayer in a prison.  His article offers a wonderful insight into the way God can speak through Quiet Prayer in what, for us, may be the most unusual of contexts.

...The Yeovil team offering Accompanied Prayer spent last week at Hillfield Friary in Dorset offering Guided Prayer to over fifteen people - I'm told it was a demanding and thrilling week.




All Saints Pastoral Centre
   ...The Baptist Order - an embryonic group of Baptist Ministers came together last week at All Saints Pastoral Centre near St Albans for a Convocation.  At that gathering we committed ourselves to: praying a Daily Office, going on Retreat once a year, engaging with a Spiritual Director and meeting in regional Cell Groups four to six times a year.  Such an order - still in 'draft' format - were it to become established - would be in the stream of 'New Monastacism' which is proving to be a significant development in the world church.



So a lot is going on, quietly and sincerely - people wanting to stand before God not with a shopping list of requests but with an open heart - seeking the humility to listen in prayer before speaking.

And I suppose I'm retreating next week - to the New Forest for a family hoiliday!

With best wishes,

Ian

ps We had a wonderful Sunday Evening with The Redmans telling us about their Ugandan summer last week.  This week we have 'in house' preachers at both services - I'm grateful to them and I hope you will enjoy and be encouraged through their ministry.

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