FEEDBACK FROM A PARTICIPANT
I attended yesterday’s wonderful walking day, and I just wanted to thank Mike, Louise and Claire for a fantastic day. I have never attended anything put on by the Synod before, and I have to say, I found the entire day absolutely fantastic. The organisation and information before hand was great, and the actual day was just what I wanted & more! Obviously it goes without saying that the food & the hospitality were superb! I am so glad that I came, and I hope very much to do more with you in the future, thank you so much for a very special day.
SYNOD QUIET DAY IN THE NEW FOREST
On 30th May a group of people from all over the synod came together for a day of gentle walking and spiritual reflection in the New Forest led by Mike and Louise Shrubsole. It was based around Crowe Hill Methodist church which offers hospitality as a centre for day retreats, and the lunch and cream tea they provided was excellent.
The programme provided a variety of prompts and activities to encourage reflection and was greatly appreciated by those who attended. Morning and afternoon walks invited us to pay attention to the landscape and its history, the paths chosen, the plant and animal life we encountered and materials we found as prompts for reflection. Maybe you associate the phrase ‘quiet day’ with silence, but a day can have a quiet character through its pace and the space for personal reflection that it opens up in you. Silence was not imposed and quiet conversations accompanied the walking. The pace was gentle allowing time for us to be aware of our surroundings and with pauses for focussed thought through simple activities. In many ways it was like a pilgrimage. In the closing outdoor worship people had opportunity to share insights and there was also a time of silent ‘examen’ (Ignatian spiritual review) seeking out what had emerged of personal significance during the day. Participants valued the opportunity to take time out for spiritual refreshment in the company of others, recognising we all need to step out of day to day busyness every so often.
Alison Toplas, convenor of Synod Silence and Retreats Group