POSTED 20 November 2018
A new addition to Richmond’s summer offering was a ReTreat week on the charming island of Samos. ReTreat week was specifically aimed at refreshment and renewal, helping people to feel encouraged and hopeful about moving forward in their faith journey. Whilst everyone has their own distinctive story, the week’s ministry leaders, James and Melanie, had identified some common themes that can lead to people becoming disconnected, distracted and losing impetus in living the Christian life.
Some of James’ key messages for the week were:
- ‘Be the me you’re meant to be’ – not the me you think you should be or the me you perceive others think you ought to be!
- Find places of ‘trusting’ rather than ‘trying’ in your relationship with God
- Loving ourselves well is a great foundation for loving others well – and, of course, the foundation of loving ourselves well is knowing how much we are loved by God.
The teaching sessions imaginatively linked Bible teaching with contemporary ideas from different sources in a way that stimulated new thoughts and experiences. Guests were encouraged to personalise the messages by taking ownership of aspects of truth through reflection times. Some did this on their own or with friends, whilst others came to informal follow-up sessions the following day, using different spaces around the hotel.
Melanie said: ‘We found that the follow-up sessions were very popular, with many of the guests wanting to take part. Without a doubt, it was during these times that many felt closest to God and experienced breakthrough moments – it was so encouraging, very special.’
Amongst the most valued parts of the ReTreat week were the early morning reflective times on the beach. The beautiful setting provided a range of opportunities to creatively engage with God, prompted by different aspects of the natural environment.
James said: ‘Being outside gave us the opportunity to experience God’s presence in different and moving ways. So many guests found these really significant moments.’
In case this week sounds a bit intense, James wanted me to assure you that the enriched ministry did not mean missing out on any of the fun and fellowship! He says that it was his most special Richmond experience so far.
We will be running our next ReTreat week in Samos for the week starting 19th September 2019.