In May 2016 we ran our first transition retreat. Tony was one of the first attendees on this new retreat and certainly experiencing transition in almost every aspect of his life Looking to get married for the first time and move to South Africa were just two of the examples! …here’s what he has to say about it.
I was made redundant at the age of 61 after working in a specialized field of the aerospace industry for 44 years as an engineer. Considering this to be the end of the road, I had not given much thought to retraining for a new career. I also felt however, that God still had something new for me. Sometime later it seemed that, perhaps the Lord was drawing my attention to Cornwall, a county of which I had very little experience: Somebody posted me a link to Kingdom Vision Truro and upon further examination of this website I became aware of the Trelowarren Retreat Centre which was advertising a retreat for those in Transition. So then, why not!
People had always told me that Cornwall was very lovely but I would declare that it is always best to make a visit and so decide for yourself. Trelowarren centre is situated on the lizard peninsula with the nearest town being Helston. It is indeed situated in a very beautiful part of the country.
Well what can I say, having already noted how very appealing that the view from the website of the outside of the chapel was, I was very much more impressed when I came to experience the centre itself and discover that it had much to offer: In addition to the chapel I found that the drawing room and library were both very comfortable, spacious and offered a very pleasant atmosphere. While lunch was served in the more than adequate kitchen, the breakfast and dinner were each served in their own specific rooms. The cooking was worthy of special mention also and was far above average.
I found that although the course/prayer and worship content were all of a serious nature, the general atmosphere was very relaxed and informal. In fact I can comfortably add that I was really made to feel like one of the family. This is really something of note as I do not find it easy to adapt quickly to new surroundings: There was always good conversation concerning both secular and spiritual topics.
Also, a very valuable part of the experience was the opportunity to meet and get to know other retreaters and also, especially the team, seeing them all as fellow individuals. It was good to be with other Christians without the need to hide behind a façade. After all, God did create us as unique individuals each with our own special value and I think that is something that Trelowarren recognizes.
There was much in the content to stimulate both spiritually and intellectually: The team provided input covering such topics as:
- How to embrace change.
- Who am I /what is my true identity.
- Factors hindering transition/past/present/future.
- Personal mission statement.
- Fulfilling dreams and calling.
This was achieved by using a number of methods including various exercises – both computer based (e.g. Gallup Strength Center) and also practical. Personal sharing (from team members and retreaters alike) also played a significant part in the process.
Worthy of special mention and concerning the intellectual/academic side of the content, was a detailed input from a professional psychologist. A memorable exercise was a retrospective look at each of our lives to reflect on the times that we felt the most fulfilled in what we were doing and also the least fulfilled. The value of prayer did not go unrecognized and there was plenty of opportunity to receive personal prayer both for issues directly connected to ‘Transition’ and also for more personal needs.
Although the Transitions retreat had much serious content, there were also adequate opportunities to relax and socialize. This involved trips to some of the many beautiful places along the Cornwall coast – A fine way to get to know the others.
I am very happy to say that my time at Trelowarren was the best experience of a Christian Retreat I have ever had. Although the Transitions retreat may not give you all the answers you are looking for, it will definitely go some way towards enabling you to discover what new direction God has planned for you. It may also surprise you!
T. of Crawley