Monday, 15 August 2022

Travelling with God

- Retreat at Ockbrook organised by the Pilgrimage Group on 20th-22nd May

After the madcap pilgrimage around the Province last September the group wanted to have a British event before the Herrnhut trip in September 2022 so decided that a retreat with the theme of travel would fill that gap. Ockbrook was chosen as a central point that had accommodation for the group (and Joachim was part of the organising group) if they wanted to camp or stay in a hall overnight.

The group gathered on the Friday evening from Northern Ireland, Yorkshire, Western District and the Midlands having travelled a range of ways: train, plane and automobile! When we had all arrived the group ordered their supper (from the fish and chip shop) and moved to the home of a congregation member - some walking, others going by car. After supper there was time for introductions and 'getting to know you games', although these were superfluous so just short introductions and where you had travelled from and where your home congregation was only needed to get things started. Moravians together can make so much noise as they chat, debate and laugh together. Jared led us in a short evening devotion and we then dispersed to our different accommodations - no one camped or slept on the lecture hall floor.

Saturday morning was bright and clear which was ideal for our day's programme. Prayer, followed by breakfast and then a tour of the settlement. The latter was really interesting and the group engaged with the tour guide, asking questions as well as investigating further. For me the story of Dr Planta was particularly fascinating. I recognised the name but couldn't remember why until vaccination was mentioned! Moravians at the forefront of medical science. It was also great to see the mulberry tree grown from a cutting of the tree John Cennick preached under. Sr Susan, soon to start her ministry as a student minister, posed under it for a photograph.

Lunch followed, then a walk to the ice cream shop for most, with the reward of delicious ice cream at the end! Most walked back and after a cup of tea we gathered in a circle for the Godly Play presentation 'The Great Family', the journey of Abraham and Sarah. After the brisk walk it was good to rest and listen. There was lots of great discussion. The group then split into two groups - one to do craft organised by Sr Patsy and the other to do poetry/hymn writing with Br Paul.

A bible study lead by Br Paul followed and we could have spent twice as much time on this but a table was booked for dinner so there was a deadline. At this point two of us left to go home because of church obligations the next day and everyone else went off to the pub. As I was one of the two I don't know how the rest of the weekend went but what little I have heard is all positive.

Thank you to all those involved in the organising, for the hospitality of Ockbrook, and for the great weekend. The highlight for me - singing graces loud and clear, how I have missed Moravians singing together.

Sr Joy Raynor

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Church House is the Headquarters of the Moravian Church in the British Province and is located in London at:
Moravian Church House, 

5 Muswell Hill, 
N10 3TJ


020 8883 3409

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