Retreats at Home during COVID-19 and beyond

Retreats at Home

 

Are you looking for an alternative way to deepening your prayer life or do you know people who long to draw closer to Jesus?

Residential retreats are very expensive and not always feel possible for people who may have family or work commitments. Many retreat centres are closed due to COVID-19, though some are beginning to reopen.

Retreats at Home

An alternative is to make a retreat whilst staying at home or carrying on with your day-to-day life. Manresa Link is an ecumenical network in the Midlands which gives retreats based on Ignatian spirituality. The retreats last around 6 weeks and during that time people meet with their prayer guide once a week to share how they have got on with their prayer.

During lockdown Manresa Link organised Retreats At Home so that people could speak to their guide over the phone, Whats App, Zoom or any other internet app they had. As lockdown eases some face-to-face meetings may also be possible. The good news is that Manresa Link will continue to offer more remote support if needed.

Manresa Link Candle

Why make a retreat?

Does this sound a bit scary? You might be thinking,

“Help! My prayer life is rubbish!” or “I am not ‘holy’ enough to have a special guide.” “Who would want to listen to me?”

A prayer guide is there to just listen and to help you to discern where God is in your experience.

Even the phrase ‘Ignatian spirituality’ might sound a bit intimidating. What on earth is this, you might wonder. It is simple a way of praying that focuses on Jesus using some insights from St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556). One of these is

“Pray as you can.” He was very practical and down-to-earth.

Being listened to by someone who cares and is not there to judge can be a wonderfully affirming experience. It can also help you to discern how God might be calling you in your discipleship. You can read more about Manresa Link here.

People who make a retreat can make a small donation to cover costs of materials if they can afford it.

Grants to make a residential retreat

If you are feeling in need of refreshment and time completely away from home there is help towards paying for a residential retreat from the Society of Retreat Conductors.

Again, when you click on the grants tab this might look a little bit daunting. It is not as hard as it seems and the Society of Retreat Conductors want more people from estates to be aware that these funds are available. The feedback form you are sent to tell them about your retreat is short and easy to fill in. It could be a life changing experience.

They also offer grants towards helping Christians to train to listen as prayer guides and spiritual directors.

Below is an example of an Ignatian way of praying called the Examen or the Review of Day.

The Review of Day

 

Online Talking Jesus course free till end of August 2020

Hope Together

During COVID-19 the Talking Jesus course created by Hope Together will be free until the end of August 2020.

This is a practical 6 session course which can now be shared with groups online about how to tell others about Jesus. Simply click here and follow the instructions to register your group to the free course. A short video explains how this course gives people confidence to talk to friends and people they know about Jesus.

More about Hope Together

Hope Together is about showing the unconditional love of Jesus in our local communities, whether this be through setting up a food bank or working with local community organisations. Church members are encouraged to invite others to become a follower of Jesus.

The whole ethos of the organisation is grounded in prayer. You can visit https://www.hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/324633/About.aspx to find out more.

Hope Together’s response to COVID-19

Churches in Birmingham have created ‘We are the Church’posters to display in windows and remind people that the church is still present in neighbourhoods, even though we are scattered. You can download a poster by clicking on this link HOPE-Rainbow-Poster

You can also download this folder to share on social media. We_are_Church_Social_Media

You can click here to read about lots of other practical ideas for sharing love in your local community. This includes a short video on how to offer support to someone who is bereaved. There is also a Discover Bible app available which can be read in virtual groups.

Worship, Reflection & Prayer Resources

Below you will find a number of liturgies and prayers to use for children and families on estates.

House Blessing Liturgy

 

House Blessing

Debbie Collins from Holy Cross, Billesley has created this lovely liturgy for a house blessing.  Please visit https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/house-blessing-liturgy/

Or, you can download a PDF file from the link below:

house-blessing2

 

Postcards – Reflective Exercise

Postcards

Ruth Atkinson at St Michael’s, Bartley Green has provided us with this excellent resource.  Collect postcards or the pictures from Christmas Cards and use them in the attached reflective exercise either with children or adults.

To get you started please download the PDF below for suggested questions that you might ask children:

a-reflective-exercise-of-the-nativity-questions-you-might-ask-the-children

You can read more about Ruth’s reflections on this activity on https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/postcards-reflective-exercise/

 

Estate Baptism Liturgy

Baptism Liturgy

St Peter’s Church, Balkwell have worked really hard to adapt a Baptism Liturgy to make Baptism a more welcoming and affirming sacrament for families from the estate who came to the church. You can download it from

baptism-a5-final-cover

To find out more about the practicalities for arranging a Baptism Liturgy please visit https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/estate-baptism-liturgy/

 

A Christian Meal Time Celebration

Click on the image below to download an enjoyable way of praying when having a meal as a family or Christian community:

A Christian Meal
A Christian community mealtime celebration

 

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come is global wave of prayer calling all Christians to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

To find the latest resources for Lockdown visit https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

Try Praying

Try Praying

 

Try Praying is a booklet to help people who are not religious to pray.  You can also download a free 7 day app from https://www.trypraying.co.uk/

The website also features encouraging stories of people who have had the courage to pray with amazing results.

A Message from Canon Andy Delmege

A pastoral message from Canon Andy Delmege, Vicar of St Bede’s Brandwood and Executive Director, National Estate Churches Network.

Andy reflects upon a story from the Book of Daniel and introduces an oft-overlooked ancient prayer #infinitelyloved   #weprayforyou   #SongOfTheThree

Andy can be followed on Twitter @pilgrimpace and @NECNestates

Pope Francis’ Call to Prayer 25th March 2020

Invitation to Prayer
Invitation to Prayer from Pope Francis

 

Pope Francis has issued an invitation to Christian leaders and the faithful around the world to join him in praying the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday 25 March (The Feast of the Annunciation) at 11.00 am GMT (12 noon in Rome).

A letter to Archbishop Justin from Cardinal Kurt Koch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this post.. Archbishop Justin has replied to say that he will be joining the Pope in prayer at that time from Lambeth Palace.

Letter from Cardinal Koch

Estates Prayer

Estates Prayer

The Bishop of Burnley, the Right Reverend Philip North has written a prayer for the estates. On Saturday 22nd February people will be saying this prayer for the estates across the country. This will be the first anniversary of the Church of England Synod motion to have a loving Christian community on every urban estate in the nation.

Can we encourage you to join us. You might want to do a prayer walk for your neighbourhood or your street.

You can find out more by clicking on this You Tube link to the Neighbourhood Prayer Network.