A word from the pastor
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Mark 6:31b

As I write these few lines I am aware of three "retreats" that I am going to be a part of in the next three weeks: first, with over fifty senior citizens of our district in a small town near Leipzig; then on the coast near Lübeck with members of our congregation and the international congregation in Hamburg; and finally with members of the German congregation in a place close to Berlin. By the time you get to reads this article I would be back from two of them. Then in November we have the opportunity to join the Anglican congregation in Berlin for a thematic retreat.

Now, the German word often used for the same kind of event is Freizeit, which really means leisure time or free time! Yet when I think of the word "retreat", the following thoughts come to mind: a withdrawal into privacy or a place of seclusion for prayer and meditation. So what's it supposed to be?

I guess it's a bit of all of the above — leisure as well as seclusion, and a time for prayer and meditation and perhaps to focus on a particular theme as well. That's what I hope these retreats are going to be about. I'll let you know!

When Jesus tells his disciples: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:31b), he is in a sense talking about such a retreat. Jesus realizes the value of fellowship, rest and renewal for himself as well as for his disciples and makes a recommendation. Of course we do take a vacation with our families or friends now and then for rest and renewal, but a retreat is a little different: it's an opportunity of fellowship as a church family beyond the customary refreshment time after Sunday services, coupled with sharing ideas on a predetermined theme and hopefully some spiritual nourishment!

For those of you who have not had the time or inclination to participate in such retreats before I can only urge you try it out once and see for yourselves.

By: Pastor Romesh Modayil, e-mail:
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