Recently, a group of young people from Blueprint Church, St Thomas’ Newtown and other Anglican churches travelled to St Mary’s Church in Raetihi to take part in a silent retreat – a taster of contemplative practices. Holly Morton tells us about the experience.
Although there were a handful of the crew that had participated in one before, most of us were new to the whole experience. The three central intentions of the weekend were silence, stillness, and solitude, all of which are increasingly difficult to find in the non-stop culture we live in. As intimidating as the idea of an entire weekend in silence was initially, the routine of shifting between the greater and lesser silences, along with morning and evening prayers quickly made the retreat more and more comfortable, and many of us felt we could have continued in the stillness for another day or two.
It was heartening to hear at the end of the weekend about everyone else’s experiences, and I personally felt a closeness to the team despite having not spoken to them for the majority of our time there, and had only met some of them on our way to the retreat. In that way it was a comfort to be reminded that God is working in everyone differently, and that we can still recognise our connection as people actively seeking God without having to ask what church someone went to.
Special thanks to Lukas Thielmann, Ira Perkins and Spanky Moore for their teaching and guidance. Also to the Parish of Ruapehu for their hospitality. St Mary’s Vicarage Retreat and Church was the perfect location for our retreat with a warm fire, gorgeous views and lots of separate spaces for hiding away.