Retreat at Minsteracres, Northumberland July 2018

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A Green Christian retreat weekend
Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July 2018

“A Heart for the Earth”

Minsteracres Retreat Centre


The retreat: A Heart for the Earth


What do our hearts ask of us in these extraordinary times?
This weekend we will listen. We know the facts – and how easy they are to deny. We know what has to be done – and how hard that can be. It is in the heart that we find the peace and the passion to live well and wisely.



This weekend will be a time of prayer and reflection, an exploration of a closer connection to the earth, nature and creation. We will meet Christ in the Earth, and in our own experience of its beauty and travail.
Anyone who would value a weekend with companions on their ecological journey is very welcome to book.


The weekend is hosted by members of Green Christian, whose Way of Life Community seek to integrate prayer, livelihood, witness and mutual encouragement. We will explore how these gentle disciplines can help us live today, whether we are members of the community or not.

The venue: Minsteracres Retreat Centre
Minsteracres is in Northumberland, and owned by the Passionists, whose members have included the writer Thomas Berry.  For more about the community see


Protection and care for the environment is one of the three key aims of the Minsteracres Retreat Centre charity, established in 2012.  Our hosts tell us that they are “renowned for peace, tranquillity and the feeling of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of life. The first thing our visitors notice when they come up the drive is our awe inspiring avenue of giant redwoods – one of the largest collections in the UK.  Our 110 acre estate comprises parkland, ancient woodland, gardens, lakes and walks suitable for all abilities.”


There are frequent train and bus services to the nearest train station four miles away in Riding Mill village (on the Carlisle-Newcastle line.  Minsteracres is easily accessible by car just off the A68, 40 minutes from Newcastle and 40 minutes from Durham. Directions are available on the Minsteracres website.


The Cost

The total cost of the retreat is £150.  A deposit of £30 will be payable to secure your booking.  We are hoping to offer a limited number of reduced-price places at £95 to students and young adults under 30 – please let us know if these are of interest.


If you’d like to join us, please download a Minsteracres Booking form here or  email Chris Walton, (


An outline of the weekend

The weekend’s programme offers a gentle balance of conversation, relaxation, worship, input and reflection.  We will trace our heart’s lifelong journey towards reconciliation with the Earth.  With your help we aim to create a weekend community of trust, so that each of us can become a little more truly who God is calling us to be.  It is our expectation that all of us who have chosen to come on this retreat will be recognising how easy it is on the journey of  ecological awakening to get lost, or stuck, or just tired, and will be willing, in a safe, yet enquiring, weekend community to share from the heart. We hope everyone will find their own experience valued and affirmed: some will echo the experience of others, some will be unique to us.


Our guide from scripture will be Christ’s journey through Philippians, chapter 2.  We will also look to the four dimensions of the Way of Life which Green Christian offers, namely prayer, lifestyle, witness and encouragement. Throughout the weekend there will be the opportunity to participate in ‘earth connection’ or ‘immersion’ activities outside whatever the weather! So have the right clothes and footwear.


On Friday 6 July you are welcome to arrive any time between 4pm and 6pm.  A minibus can pick you up from Riding Mill station, but please tell us beforehand by emailing Chris Walton ( what time you are expecting to arrive at the station, so that we can inform the Centre.  We will gather before dinner at 6.30pm, and meet afterwards for an introductory session, to the weekend and each other, rounded off with Night Prayer.


The next morning we will start to share our own ‘ecological stories’ – the experiences and the choices which have shaped our own relationship with creation which we have today.  In a safe environment we can share something from it with a few others, and listen to their stories too.  From the experience of others we will no doubt find new light shed on our own.


After lunch there will be free time, whether to explore the beautiful surroundings of Minsteracres, follow a guided meditation, read, chat, or simply be.  Following afternoon tea we will gather again.  In a talk we will hear the invitation at the heart of the gospel, recorded in Philippians 2, to share in the journey of Christ into the earth and on to resurrection.  There will be time to look for Christ’s journey in our own, drawing us into the future, through personal reflection and shared liturgy.  We will begin to consider the practical choices and challenges to which God calls us, in prayer, lifestyle, witness and encouragement.


For Saturday evening you are welcome to bring something entertaining or nourishing to share for our journeys – music, poetry, dance or anything that warms your heart.


On Sunday morning we will look to the future.  We will offer in worship what we have begun to hear of God’s call to us.  There will be an opportunity to seek each other’s support in making resolutions for the way ahead.  If we find ourselves wanting to continue the journey beyond the weekend or the group, there will be time to explore the options and find connections.  We will depart after lunch, with transport again available back to Riding Mill station.

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Posted in GC Events

2 comments on “Retreat at Minsteracres, Northumberland July 2018
  1. John Morley says:

    Any more details yet on the Minstracres programme?
    Particularly children’s programme?

  2. Christopher Walton says:

    This retreat has been designed for Green Christian members and others committed to a discipleship of creation care, and we are sorry that this time it will not have a children’s programme.
    I would be glad to have an email conversation with you about this:

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