Of Retreats and Retreating – A Zoom Experience

This week has been the Benefice retreat. It was to have been at a retreat centre in Devon led my Rev’d Jane Horton the diocesan prayer and discipleship coordinator.

That was obviously cancelled but instead we decided a virtual retreat on Zoom might be the answer!  I was especially pleased for a number of reasons:

  • the cost
  • no travelling
  • no socialising or quiz evenings….  ( I really am under my genial exterior, a crusty old codger!)  
  • and many more…..
The sessions are all on YouTube if you are interested and can be found on the Rector’s channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC5U0mwGDg-lF4aeh1OF92w 
I have not included all the handouts because you might like to consider this for your own churches. 
The first session was Monday at 4pm  and the others 9:30 and 4pm on Tuesday & Wednesday and 11:00 am on Thursday.  Our team meets for morning prayer daily at 9 a.m. anyway – so actually 9 am was the official beginning. (click Morning Prayer Daily for the ZOOM link to join us!- All Welcome) 
 In between the sessions there were times for contemplation and reading, but in reality for me I taught maths to grandchildren via Zoom, told  stories and attended a series of virtual meetings both secular and chaplaincy so I began to wonder if it was worth doing! 

However – I was and stil am walking between 3 and 5 miles each morning, sometimes in silence, sometimes with David Suchet reading the Bible to me (Recently Acts…. again) or music. Here follows the path to a small revelation…..

The short revelation was that the information from the sessions and the discussion had gone in somewhere and I had a series of questions and thoughts that would need another month of morning walks to unpack. That was a treat- its always good to have something to chew on! 

I missed the lunch experience after the last session – which some will find unsurprising, but in fact I needed to talk to Mandy Wells about Safeguarding courses online for Spiritual Directors and for those who would need them before licensing / re-licensing.  We will be running a couple of Zoom sessions for Spiritual Direction but we await the new National ZOOM materials for everyone else. 


I would recommend the ZOOM retreat experience without any reservation- it is such a flexible format that you can make of it what you want or indeed, need. You just have to accept that real life can and will intervene- especially if you are naturally busy. 

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