Introductory Note:

Last summer, the graduates of the 2013-2015 London-based cohort of the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation bid each other tearful farewells and vowed to find a way to once again be together in the future. This spring, they converged for a soul-filling reunion, and invited other Institute alum to join in their retreat. We are happy to bring you a report of the goings on.

Refreshing fellowship with like-minded apprentices in the with-God’ life journey; chances to deepen existing cohort friendship, opportunity to meet spouses, friends and those from other cohorts and make new friendships; inspirational, invitational and challenging teaching; wonderful food; freedom to share in the contemplative daily rhythm of a place steeped in prayer and to celebrate Eucharist with a Celtic flavour; silence, beauty, laughter, conversation — all in the peace, quiet and natural beauty of Launde Abbey, surrounded by green pastures populated by new-born lambs, deep in the heart of rural England! These were some of God’s gracious gifts to us as 38 of us gathered for a Renovaré reunion this April.

What stands out from this wonderful week?

  • The joy of being together again with fellow cohort members, 10 months after our final Institute retreat at Lee Abbey. 
  • A reminder of just how restorative, encouraging and beautiful it is to taste heaven, as we gather together, God’s loved children, united in our desire to focus on becoming more like Jesus. 
  • Invitations through Trevor Hudson to experience another kind of life’ in our close relationships, in our work, in our pain. 
  • Challenges thrown out from Chris Webb to consider how the reality that God doesn’t need us, but rather wants us and chooses us, might work itself out in life, in church, in mission, as we seek to make love for God and others the true great commission’. 
  • The inevitable rib-breaking laughter whenever our beloved Nick Page gets the stage! Bless you, Nick. You do our souls good! 
  • Being blessed with the company of Gary and Regina Moon and Chris Hall. 
  • The privilege of being graced with the presence of spouses and friends of cohort members, and those from other cohorts, learning what God is doing in their lives. 
  • Conversations around the table. 
  • Morag’s shortbread and tiffin! 
  • The tangible expression of love and concern poured out on those facing incredibly tough life-situations and the privilege of praying for and with one another. 

In truth each and all of these. And more, so much more. But perhaps most wonderful of all – the awareness of God’s living presence among us, His love for us and desire for us to be with Him, in each and every aspect and moment of everyday life. Captured in the image into which Trevor invited us each morning In returning and resting is your salvation; in quietness and confidence in your strength” (Is 30:15)

For all of this each one of us is so deeply grateful to God. And also to the 3 people who made it possible, at great personal cost: Stuart and Morag Fisher and Stuart’s amazing PA, Linda. Thank you for blessing each of us with a gift we will treasure always. May God’s goodness rest on you and guard you. 

May God’s Spirit keep us returning to Him; may God’s peace keep us resting in Him; may quietness be His gift to our souls and may our confidence in Him keep us walking ever towards Him, always with Him, in His unshakable kingdom. 

Click here for more information on the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation.

We gratefully acknowledge Katharina Unverzagt Robb and Debbi Lang for their permission to use their photographs.