That may sound a contradiction in terms. But everyone who participated in this autumn’s Retreat in Daily Working Life, run by ChaplaincyPlus with Manresa Link, agreed not only that this space can be carved out but also that it is enormously helpful to do so.
A good group of people from the ChaplaincyPlus network signed up to the Retreat this year, enjoying the benefit of its flexibility, fitting round the demands of working life.
At the heart of the Retreat is a commitment to pray privately with a Biblical passage, day by day, over a six week period. This is supported by weekly one-to-one meetings with your allocated prayer guide, focusing on what has been felt and experienced during the time of daily prayer and afterwards: the meetings are arranged at a time that fits with your work commitments, in an easy city centre location, such as a coffee shop close to your office. The prayer guide does not advise, persuade or judge: rather, they are there to help you to become more perceptive and more responsive to the Spirit of God at work within you and around you. What a gift, in the heart of a busy working week!
What did participants find helpful?
“Doing a retreat in daily life encourages you to find time in the everyday for some silence and reflection.”
“Brilliant to pray in the thick of the juggle of work and life, discerning God’s presence in the midst of it all”.
“Being challenged to take time aside. Accountability to dig deeper.”
“Very helpful to discuss experience (and sometimes lack of experience) in prayer with somebody. It reassured me that I wasn’t just wandering or making it up. My prayer guide was not at all judgemental and reassured me that prayer encompasses all sorts of feelings. She was very good at reflecting what I had said, helping me to see a possible pattern, sparking off further ideas to explore.”
What a great advert for the Retreat in Daily Working Life.
The Retreat offers invaluable flexibility to fit in to the shape of your working week. But participants are not travelling alone: we shared an hour-long meeting to start the Retreat and to finish it, giving us a sense of journeying together. Our common purpose, in our Retreat space and beyond, is being open to God’s transformative presence in our workplaces and in our lives.
This the third year that ChaplaincyPlus has offered this type of Retreat to people working in the Birmingham business community – and we hope to do so again in future. So now’s a good time to consider whether you’d like to join in, next time we do. You don’t need to have done anything like this before – you can simply take encouragement from participants’ comments:
“A very good introduction to Retreats.”
“A wonderful opportunity to explore my own faith and get closer to God”.
For more information, contact Sarah Thorpe.