We asked someone who travels quite some distance for our Soulful Saturdays, what it is about them that makes it worthwhile...
My first experience of Retreat House Chester was in June 2016 when I attended two events to hear Fr. Christopher Jamison speak at Chester Cathedral. When I booked the tickets I didn’t really register which organisation was responsible for organising the event, still less their reasons for doing so. It was simply a chance to hear a man who I had been tremendously impressed by when I had watched BBC2’s ‘The Monastery’. Since then I have attended quite a few ‘Soulful Saturdays’ and learned more about the collective vision which drives Retreat House Chester. Without exception I have greatly enjoyed all the events.
The facilitators have all come from within the Christian tradition, although their exact location within that tradition has varied. There is always something to take away and apply to day-to-day life, and sometimes what is said and discussed can affect you in quite profound and unexpected ways. The different traditions and perspectives of the speakers stimulate ideas, discussion and exploration, but they never threaten or suggest that their tradition is the only way. There is space to reflect and disagree. Ideas are invitations – never brickbats. I rarely attend church services, and Retreat House Chester enables me to have a communal aspect to my spiritual life which I would otherwise lack, and for that I am extremely grateful.
While I would still attend if the events were held at the end of my road (although ‘Retreat House Bolton’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it), the location of the Soulful Saturdays in the heart of Chester adds an extra something. I enjoy spending time in the Cathedral and with the people who help run the events and the other regulars who attend. There are always people there for the first time, too, and as a one-off – which means that it is never a ‘closed’ group, but varied and welcoming. The advantage of going to more than one Soulful Saturday, however, (apart from it being such an enjoyable way to spend a day) is that over time friendships begin to develop. We seem to live in an increasingly frenetic and anxious world, where technology demands instant responses from us and provides angst-provoking information regarding situations about which we can do nothing. Retreat House Chester gives us an alternative way to view and live in the world.
Read about previous Saturdays on our other news posts, for something of what they have been about. For events in 2018, see our programme page.