OneSpirit Finance Officer Danielle Wilson joined the holding team for the Year 1 retreat at Felden Lodge, and shares this reflection:
31 ½ intrepid Y1 students gathered on 10th July 2018 for the start of their end-of-Y1 retreat at our new retreat venue, Felden Lodge, near Hemel Hempstead. As always with the Y1 retreat, there was anticipation, excitement, perhaps a little fear but mostly sheer joy at being together again in such lovely surroundings.
Whilst we (the Team) were also getting accustomed to the new venue, the Y1 students quickly settled into their own rhythm of the retreat. Danielle Wilson & Karen Dempsey had created a labyrinth for their use. It was situated in a shaded, private area not overlooked by all and asundry. Oral dialogue groups took up most of Tuesday afternoon and evening. Wednesday morning activities included making stoles for their Mighty Companions for the Initiation Ceremony on Thursday evening. Afternoon activities were in silence, in preparation for the Forgiveness and Purification Ceremony which was held in late afternoon accompanied by the ritual burning of forgiveness letters in the outdoor fire pit. Devotional evening with beautiful singing, poetry, creativity and laughter was enjoyed by all. Some intrepid Companions then adjourned for more merry-making at the fire pit.
Thursday morning was a time for student reflections followed by visits to the various “faith” portals set up around the grounds. A light supper preceded the Initiation Ceremony with a cake celebration afterwards. Again, more merry-making at the fire pit.
Friday morning is a time to start closing down the retreat with fondness mixed with some sadness: Karen Dempsey will not be joining Y2 as Group Tutor, due to her pregnancy; a couple of Y1’s are as yet undecided about whether they will continue into Y2; saying goodbye to each other until the start of Y2.
A good number of Y1’s attended the Ordination to help with the preparations, thus giving them a valuable insight into what to expect for themselves in Summer, 2019.
Rosie Magudia’s 6 week old baby joined us for most of the retreat – being imbued with all the singing, laughter and joy the retreat offered us all. Good spirits surrounded us all as we journeyed back into the “real” (?) world.