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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Creativity & Reflection: Lent Oasis & Silent Retreat

We enjoyed a great time of creativity and reflection at St Martin-in-the-Fields today in our Lent Oasis. We shared a time of quiet scriptural reflection and practical art. For our reflection we used Lectio Divina to look at Psalm 27. We then utilised a wide range of art and craft materials to respond creatively to this Psalm.

There will be more creativity and reflection at the Silent Retreat we will share at the Retreat House, Pleshey next weekend. In this retreat we will be exploring through art the theme from the Christmas Appeal in relation to prayer, inspired by Simone Weil’s words: “Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.”

The things we pay attention to are our life experiences: people, creation, events, emotions, absence and mystery. These themes will lead us through the retreat as we seek to pay attention to God, to the world and one another.

How we do that is inspired by our faithful living out of the Gospel in the world in the spirit of Philippians: "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4.8

The retreat is for members of the St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Stephen Walbrook communities. The retreat and reflections will be led by Revd Katherine Hedderly and myself.

The Retreat House at Pleshey, situated a few miles from Chelmsford, was established in 1909 as a House of Prayer, and is now the Diocesan Retreat Centre for the Chelmsford Diocese. The spiritual writer and spiritual director Evelyn Underhill led many retreats here and called it a place of peace and stillness where we can come into the presence of God and rediscover the power of his love.

The object of the weekend is to provide a place of prayer, space and quiet reflection, to be used as best suits each person, set in the context of the shared experience of reflections, art, worship, prayer, and relaxation. We simply hold the ‘silence’ as a gift for one another.

The structure of the weekend is as follows. Arrive at the Retreat House on Friday night in time to meet and chat to each other before and over supper. After supper there will be an introduction to the weekend, followed by a welcome liturgy. We shall then enter into silence, interspersed with talks, reflective services and free time over the weekend. Silence will end with the Sunday morning Eucharist, and we follow this with lunch together, before making our way home.

Adrian Snell - Psalm 27.

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