Hello, my name is David, and it is my privilege to be walking alongside you as together we explore monasticism.
I was raised in the Baptist and Evangelical expression of the Church and have a deep respect for both these traditions. However I never felt that I really belonged in these communities. When I was in my teenage years I watched a documentary on the BBC called ‘The Big Silence’. it was filmed at Worth Abbey and I distinctly remember feeling intrigued and excited by this ancient outworking of a faith who’s modern expression for me was becoming increasingly stale. I booked myself on to a silent retreat at Worth Abbey, not really knowing what to expect.
When I arrived I raged against the silence and what was being offered. It was unnerving and confronting. So like a modern day Jonah, I went and hid in the abbey. Eventually I had had enough of hiding and I tentatively emerged to join the evening session only to discover it had snowed outside. As I stood and watched the gentle snow add to the growing blanket that had covered everything in fresh whiteness I entered into the silence fully. I found God in the quiet and stillness, externally and internally. Since then God has continued to surprise me in the silence and ancient practices.
I guess you probably have some questions. First and foremost, “What is this website all about?” In truth, this website is our answer to the plethora of questions we get asked when we return from a monastic retreat. What was it like? Are you able to talk whilst you’re there? What was the food like:? In more practical terms, this website is also a directory of monasteries and their services so if you do decide to explore a retreat you will be able to find all you need here to set it up yourself and hopefully get the most out of your experience.
Our mission statement, insofar as we have one, is to serve the growing need for Christian retreat. Along the way we may share with you acts of lectio divina, recommend some books or resources or who knows, maybe even offer our own courses and pilgrimages. They will all revolve around that singular aim though to serve the growing need for Christian retreat. We are exceedingly excited to give you a little window into the monastic world, who knows where it may lead?
Thank you for joining me on this pilgrimage, and welcome once more to Monastic Retreats.
It’s hard to point to a time in my life when my faith journey began, since faith and God have been central from my earliest memories. My grandparents were such a big influence in my childhood. Their simple faith and love of God, family and neighbour shaped me, and although they have long since travelled onward to that higher plain, they remain my role models.
Baptised as a baby in the Church of England, I waited until I was at university to be confirmed. For me that was a blessed time of exploring and broadening my understanding of faith, encountering other traditions, and experiencing that which goes beyond denomination and creed.
My first monastic retreats were at beautiful Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight, and since then I’ve had wonderful opportunities to stay at several monasteries throughout the UK and abroad. I’ve also become a pilgrim, experiencing God on the way, in other people, in sacred and ordinary places, on mountaintops, deep woods, cafes, trains and ships.
These two ancient practices, the sacred retreat and the sacred journey, so often themselves interwoven, help me see the revelation of God in all things. I hope this website will help you take God-guided steps on your path to ever greater union with Him.
Peace and blessings,