Convent runs its first retreat for young people
Put down the phone, unplug the laptop and hide the headphones – a convent is running its first retreat specifically for young people. Joanna Hollins, who at 26 the youngest member of the Tymawr Convent, explains why her generation needs to tune into God’s ‘still, small voice of calm’.
Upload, refresh, reply: sometimes the amount of information being thrown at us is more than we can ever handle. I was told once that computer processing power doubles every 18 months, making my smartphone hundreds of times more powerful than the first computers. And with 5g internet being rolled out, the speed and scale of the information pouring into our lives is almost beyond comprehension.
As digital natives, used to picking up new technology at a moment’s glance, the onslaught of sound and speech in our lives can seem normal: something we learn to tune out. But there are times when it becomes impossibly loud. How do we hear God, when there are so many voices talking at once – and so many trying to tell us what God is really saying?
This August The Society of the Sacred Cross, an Anglican monastic community in the peaceful Wye Valley, is setting aside a week for young people (18-35) to come and spend time listening, resting and exploring God’s presence in our lives. Our core community live under monastic vows, and our life is shared by a wider family of companions, oblates, associates and friends. ‘Tymawr’ translates as ‘big house’ – and our house is always open, whether to local people coming to join our worship or visitors from the other side of the world!
So what happens on the retreat? It’s mostly made in silence, allowing time to listen to God, to still our hearts and minds, and to discern where God may be leading us. Each retreatant will have the chance to spend time with one of our Retreat Companions, Jane and Nicola, and to join the community in the gentle rhythm of the chapel. Either Jane or Nicola will meet each person every day, and will help them to plan their time of retreat, which may include time to walk, read, work creatively or use the two private chapels in the grounds. Resting is an important part of retreat, and our retreatants have use of the comfortable library and gardens, where you may meet one of our cats resting in the sun…
We’ve chosen to offer this space to young people specifically this year because we understand how pressured and complicated life can be for millennials. In a world where we’re increasingly time-poor, we invite you to come and spend a few days in God’s time, listening to the ‘still, small voice’ which is calling each of us.
So whether you’re an early-adopter of mindfulness and meditation, or you haven’t kept quiet since that one sponsored silence as a teenager – all are welcome. The retreat lasts from the 6th to the 10th of August 2020 and will cost £200, including all meals and accommodation. If you’re curious, and would like more information or to book a space, send an email either to Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nicola at email@example.com.
More information about the community and our location can be found at tymawrconvent.org
Unload your cares. Refresh your heart. And in the silence, come, and let God reply.