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.

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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