Sarah Thorpe writes: This autumn, we’re going to hold our seventh Retreat in Daily Working Life, with ChaplaincyPlus once again partnering with Manresa Link. This fact in itself confirms how much the Retreat is valued by people in the business community. The Retreat gives a framework for going deeper in our relationship with God – the beauty is that it fits around the commitments of your working week.
Whilst appreciating that everyone’s experience will be different, you may be interested to read one person’s experience of the entering into last year’s Retreat.
Roger Bauckham’s personal experience of the 2017 Retreat in Daily Working Life
2017 was a difficult year for us as a family. Late in 2016, I had lost my Father-in-law, and this was closely followed by the passing of my Mum in January. To add further challenges, I had also recently left employment to start my own consultancy business.
Around September time, I found out about the “Retreat in Daily Working Life” at a ChaplaincyPlus breakfast and felt motivated to “give it a go”. My personal mentor was a lovely lady called Sandra and we met every Monday morning in the centre of Birmingham to discuss progress and plan the retreat.
At the start, it was clear that I had some fundamental questions about “how real my faith was?” and this was addressed by a week of Lectio Divina contemplation on Isaiah 43 vs 1-5. This really set the scene for the retreat and, I think, revealed to me for the first time the power of scriptures and the ability of a focussed reading regime to transform my thinking through repeated study of the same text.
Then we moved onto the “Imaginative Prayer” style of study with me playing the part of an observer, an onlooker, able to view the behaviour of Jesus in an ordinary situation and reflect on what that meant to me personally.
Next, it was John 13, vs 1-16, where I experienced a personal encounter with Jesus at the last supper, I felt Him wash my feet as he gave me clear guidance on what he wanted me to do at this new stage of my working life – quite a moving experience and one which I can still recall now.
As the weeks went on, I found I was looking forward to my daily study time and, with the help of the useful guidance from the retreat notes and Sandra, I generally managed between 15 and 30 minutes each day in quiet study and contemplation.
By week 4, I was ready to ask the big question that had been in my mind all that year, “what about the loved ones I had just lost – where are they now?”. A difficult subject as you can imagine, but, again, one that was answered in a way I could not have done myself. Such was my closeness to God now, I felt that I was able to ask these questions and have all the answers I needed to give me peace and to help me progress in my grieving.
So, to finish, I took myself to a place I now visit again and again – by the sea of Galilea, as portrayed in John 21 vs 1-17. A time of toil and struggle gradually transformed into a wonderful expression of Jesus’s faithfulness and his desire to give to each one of us, that which he knows will make us happy. A celebration of companionship, good fortune in fishing, a good breakfast by the fire and the promise of hope everlasting.
At the end of last year’s Retreat in Daily Working Life, other people commented on what they found helpful and what were the greatest strengths of the Retreat:
My prayer guide was incredible. The whole experience has been life changing and has been so encouraging, challenging, helpful and has encouraged good practice for the future. Thank you so much.
Simplicity of the space at the heart of the activity of life.
To be guided and encouraged in seeking out God and hearing from Him in the hecticness of life. It was helpful that my guide picked up where I was “at” and guided me appropriately.
The relationship between my prayer guide and me; her caring and wisdom. The passages she chose for me spoke to me; some spoke very deeply.
There’s an opportunity to journey with God over the six weeks of the Retreat. And it’s vital to enter into the process openly, without prejudging what’s going to happen. Are you up for the adventure, seeing where you and God will journey together?
Here’s more information about the Retreat in Daily Working Life Daily Life Retreat – Overview Information.docx
And you can book your place on the Retreat here: http://chaplaincyplus.org.uk/events/dailyliferetreat2018/