Shell Confirmation Retreat to Sclerder Abbey, Polperro , Cornwall.
Rev Kerr writes: It was a great privilege to share a three day retreat with a group of six such reflective, prayerful and joyful young people from St Edward’s at the end of the Spring Term. The destination of the retreat was Sclerder Abbey run by the Chemin Neuf Community, just a mile from the Cornish Coast, and the purpose was to give six young confirmation candidates the chance to spend time with God away from the distractions of school life. The theme was ‘Thank you, Sorry, Please’ and we thought and prayed through this theme individually, as a group and in relation to the world beyond School. There were times of silence, times of joyful worship, candlelit complines, drama re-enactments of Holy Week, imaginative painting, film creating and poignant times of reconciliation. A bonfire on the Sunday night was a beautiful experience in the clean crystal sea air, as was the coastal walk earlier that day, resulting in a necessary Cornish ice cream. Memories will be of a fun, yet moving, end to the term with a great bunch of pupils in a beautiful place and welcomed by a very generous and open-hearted Christian community.
Lower Sixth Retreat
Sixth Former Em Catchpole writes: The retreat was the first that I had ever been on and so I was unsure of what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised as it not only gave me time away from School but also allowed me to clear my head and feel more secure in my faith. We arrived at a secluded farm just outside Oxford, where we were warmly greeted by Caitlin, a member of the Stewards’ Trust, who we had previously met at a Cafe Chapel last term. We began our retreat by listening to a story read to us by Rev Shaw. It really helped us clear our minds of anything that was going on at School, whether it was prep, problems with friendships or the pressure of exams, and allow space for God. After this we returned to the main barn where we began our discussion on the Holy Spirit. For me, the Holy Spirit has always been a bit of mystery and I never fully understood what it was or what it did, or how it made any difference in people’s lives. We were each given a different bible verse and had to freely interpret what it told us about the Holy Spirit in one word. At the end, we had a range of descriptive words which helped us form an image of who the Holy Spirit was and what he meant to us. Towards the end of the day, we were able to have some time to ourselves to explore the countryside. This provoked discussions of people’s different spiritual experiences relating to the Holy Spirit, and allowed us to decide for ourselves what the Holy Spirit meant for us. Once we returned to the barn, we took part in multiple forms of prayer including lighting candles, moulding play dough and using dissolving tablets so we could watch our worries and sins disappear before our eyes. We ended the retreat with a few songs played by Rev Kerr on his famous guitar, featuring everyone’s favourite: Bless the Lord, O my soul. The retreat was a revelatory experience that left me feeling more confident in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and in my faith overall.