Each year the retreat team at Minsteracres chooses a new theme for its retreats. Following on from last year’s ‘blessed are the merciful’ is 2017’s ‘seeds of hope’.

Aptly using giant redwoods (of which we have a few!) as the source of the seed, the team looked at what is needed to nurture and grow something so tiny into a tree so big.

As is our custom, the first group to experience the retreat is our friends and volunteers who have their own dedicated weekend in February. And just as last year, they were extremely positive about the theme and the content.

The team had prepared a series of prayer stations for retreatants to pause at and consider a particular theme. Different stations appealed to different people. Tess, one of our outreach volunteers was particularly taken with the prospect of the cleansing fire which is needed to germinate the seed and the light and support which helps them to grow. “It made me really look at what’s going on in my life,” she said.

“I didn’t know hope was going to be the theme,” said another. “It strengthened my growing little seed of hope and somehow consolidated it. It’s nice to meet other people – I feel as if I’m making friends here which I’m badly in need of just now.”

Trish, a long standing friend and volunteer said, “It was excellent, as ever. There’s always something to take away. I had wanted to reconnect with Minsteracres – it’s my spiritual home, a place of great peace, and also of great excitement. I just need to step onto the drive to reconnect, but this has taken me to a deeper level.”

Lorraine who travels from Teesside, said, “It’s just being here- the peace, the time out. You always think you’ll make more time but it never happens!”

Ellen, a more recent volunteer, shared her memories of having a profound spiritual experience in rehab having been near to death. “It was great for me,” she said. “My story really touched them. Sharing other people’s experience is so powerful.”

If you would like to take part in one of our seeds of hope retreats you can find them here on our website: http://www.minsteracres.org/come-on-retreat/ .