Our vision

A city needs breathing spaces

Many of us today feel the need to slow down or step aside now and again, maybe to find a greater depth and connection in life as we live it. Retreat House Chester, drawing on Christian tradition, believes that the ancient practice of retreat has much to offer people today, whatever our differences, and that sometimes we need to be able to do this in ways that fit with daily living – locally and non-residentially. Whether it is simply quiet time that is needed or ways of exploring reflective living and spirituality, Retreat House Chester wants to be a place for this.

Through 2017, we will be running a programme of retreats and retreat-related events in various venues, and raising funds to assist us in our vision of a retreat house in the heart of the city. Open to all, and with a city-centre location and non-residential character, we hope the retreat house will be an accessible resource for stillness and spirituality in the city, drawing on the richness of the monastic tradition to offer ways of retreating in daily life: opportunities for stillness, reflection, contemplative prayer, study, training, and personal and professional support.

Back in 1925, 11 Abbey Square, a Cathedral house, first opened its door as a retreat house right in the heart of Chester.  Itself on the site of the ancient abbey courtyard, for more than three-quarters of a century the house was a much-loved place of generous welcome. There is now a wonderful opportunity to welcome people once again to the retreat house, in a refreshed and contemporary way while still respecting the heritage of the house.  Our aim is that successful fundraising and a popular programme will make this happen.

We are aiming to re-open the door and plan to be:

  • non-residential
  • open to all
  • a comfortable city-based resource for residents, workers & visitors offering opportunities for silence, stillness, reflection & conversation; workshops, talks and courses drawing on Christian spiritual tradition; personal and professional support
  • run by staff and volunteers, with local & national visiting speakers & facilitators
  • resilient, sustainable & ethical
  • a place which understands both interior life and the value of community, especially in a city context

Now

Retreat House Chester is currently running from office and meeting space in temporary premises in 9 Abbey Square, right next door to the old retreat house. We will run retreat activities in various venues, usually Chester Cathedral, as we continue to work towards opening the retreat house. To make all this happen, we need your support: please see The The Fifteen Appeal for more on how you can help bring retreat to the city.