Is your ecology too small? The CEL Noddfa retreat 2012
CEL member Sandra Dutson joined 30 others for our weekend retreat, and writes…
A week ago and I was on a train leaving Penmaenmawr, catching my last glimpse of the sea before returning home to Salford after the annual CEL retreat held this year at Noddfa. On the final lap of my journey there was an exquisitely beautiful sunset, becoming a final psalm of gratitude for the weekend.
The place itself was sufficient cause for gratitude. I love the sea but see it rarely and this was my first real sighting this year. It is a lovely bay, looking over to Puffin island, Anglesey in one direction and over to Conway and Llandudno in the other. I apologised to speakers for stationing myself during sessions so as far as possible I could drink in the view as well as their words!
Our quiet moments spent exploring the grounds for a special spot in which to reflect, as we prayed the elements of water, wind, Earth and fire, and the free time on Saturday for longer walks either down to sea or up the nearby hills meant there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy to the full our surroundings. The one blot on the landscape was the amount of transport infrastructure between us and the sea. The traffic on the A 55 seemed to roar incessantly and echo for miles around. Increasingly in this country it seems to find a quiet spot totally free of traffic noise is proving harder and harder.
The grounds themselves with Labyrinths, allotment and inviting paths through the trees with yet more glimpses of sea and hills were a delight.
The house and hospitality in the form of good food and the care of the sisters meant we could rest and find time for each other. It was good to catch up again with old friends and also meet people who we had not met before. It was wonderful to have the children with us, children who have not forgotten how to play and make their own enjoyments outside and indoors.
It was truly a fitting setting for the planned sessions with Chris and Paul. Emergence, dance, shalom, humility and joy just a few of the words and concepts shared and developed to communicate our connectedness with all that is, was and shall be. Really understanding ourselves as in the great spiral of life where every child is the energy of the sun and all life is given ultimately so more life emerges. . Humour too, often child inspired as with the angel who forgot her words but eventually ‘remembered’ not ‘Glory to God’ but ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff’!
As those there know I really struggled with use of Nehemiah and temple image as recurring thread for weekend but the Sunday morning worship removed the discord of that image for me as we reflected on what God has done in thanksgiving, what we have done in confession and what we will do next by way of commitment. This was all woven together in the creating, stripping and recreating not just once of our altar but also in the absolutely right rhythms and melodies of the chants led by our musicians.
The commitments we made need further encouragement through sharing with each other so thanks to the willingness to share contact details of all who were there. Thanks to all who helped me through the times of tiredness and irritation so I found a way beyond into a new energy and that shalom which is a verb.
Comments on "Is your ecology too small? The CEL Noddfa retreat 2012"
Sounds like a very meaningful time. I am working on a project right now related to marine conservation and find that the sea is immensely powerful in helping me reflect on God's power, might, and beauty. He didn't have to create so many amazingly beautiful creatures that most in the world never gets to see. Yet He did and I feel so priviledged to get to study it and revel in his creativity. You may enjoy the Grove Booklet entitled Hope for the Ocean that was recently published in the Ethics series. http://www.grovebooks.co.uk/cart.php?target=product&product_id=17558&category_id=265