2015/16 has been a bit of a ‘boomerang year’ for us!
Within less than twelve months, we have been to four separate retreats at Trelowarren Retreat! We live in the Midlands, so this is not ‘just down the road’ for us, neither are we seasoned travellers and yet, this year, it has come to feel a bit like a second home. Almost as if we’ve left our slippers under the bed for next time!
So, why do we keep being drawn back?
Part of the answer lies in the fact that Trelowarren Retreat is what the ancient Celtic Christians called a ‘thin’ place; a place where the heavens seem more open, and there is a ready ‘flow’ of Gods presence and voice. A place where it feels easier to experience God above the crackle and static of everyday life. A place of meeting, like Bethel for Jacob… And no one comes away from a Bethel encounter the same! We’ve found that.
The first time we came, we were, to be honest, feeling weary and confused. We’d had a difficult year, with lots of life-changing events, many not of our choosing – it had felt at times as if we were being ‘steamrollered’!
Did God speak to us anymore, or had we just forgotten how to hear?
And yet, over our first few days here, we were able to sense His quiet presence again, and hear His gentle encouragements. The place became a conduit for God’s voice to filter through to us again…not through any direct ministry time or prayer, just God meeting us intimately and powerfully amongst chats over the breakfast table, walks in the woods, worship times in the chapel or quiet evenings by the library fire. And once you’ve experienced that, you want to keep coming back! You’re hungry for more.
It is, of course, also a fabulously beautiful and evocative location! Nestled amongst natural woodland, Trelowarren Retreat is at once impressive and warmly welcoming. That first view of the honied stone of the Gothic chapel, bathed in evening light, whilst driving round the final bend in the driveway, feels like ‘coming home.’
Neither are retreats at Trelowarren Retreat austere affairs! Mike and Elaine’s commitment to excellence and attention to detail, from the wonderful meals (with fine wines!) to the beautiful decor, is all about giving the best to God and to retreaters. The result is that you FEEL loved. You feel like God’s loved and special children (which of course we are, but how often we lose sight of it. ) Trelowarren Retreat reminds us. This is part of its ‘specialness’.
This is also a place that carries a specific spiritual anointing, enshrined in its history and in its commissioning, and it is an anointing that Mike and Elaine faithfully and sensitively steward. To us, it seems to centre on four areas:
- Trelowarren Retreat is a place of nourishment. The banquet table is laid out! Literally (the food is upmarket, fabulous, fresh and local!) but also spiritually…regular conference retreats focus on cutting-edge Christian teaching, but God will choose to come alongside and spend time with you whether you come for the teaching or just to relax and recharge.
- There is a very palpable sense of peace, of God’s ‘shalom’ or wholeness here. His sovereignty and rule are over this place. We experienced this as a constant ‘quietening’ and reassurance when our hearts were anxious. Gods visible flag of residence is over Trelowarren Retreat!
- Trelowarren Retreat is a place of envisioning or re-envisioning too. Mike and Elaine have a specific calling to see people set free to know and walk out their Kingdom destiny. Prayer and inner healing ministry alongside an emphasis on the importance of prophecy undergird this. We love that the entrance to Trelowarren Retreat Centre is through the 1661 Restoration Gates – the Retreat functions as a gate to Restoration! Individual and national.
- Finally, there is an anointing at the Retreat, enshrined in its founding, for the development of the creative arts for Kingdom purpose, to equip, encourage and commission those working in the creative industries to take hold of those gifts and use them in Gods workplace for the Kingdom.
Nourishing, envisioning, equipping, communicating the sovereignty and shalom of God – these are the hallmarks of this place, and the reason we keep coming back.
Come and see! You’ll find yourself returning too.