Friday, 8 August 2014

R is for Retreater

Retreater – Retreats in English – are an important part of Sweden Yearly Meeting’s (YM) inreach and outreach. The YM has its own Retreat Centre called Svartbäcken (Black Beck) in Rimbo, some 60 km to the north of Stockholm and an easy bus ride from Arlanda Airport. Three or four Quaker retreats are held per term (spring and autumn) and are either led by Julia Ryberg or by other Swedish Friends. Sometimes there is a theme to focus reflectively on, and sometimes not. Opportunities for mid-week and private retreats are available for those who want to withdraw and reflect in their own ways. Other churches and groups also use the Centre for their own short courses or retreats. As the Retreat Centre is situated in woods by a lake, the environment is very conducive to reflection in stillness. Day retreats are also held at the Quaker Centre in Stockholm (Kväkargården) on a variety of themes. You can read more about the retreat programmes at Svartbäcken and Kväkargården on the YM’s website:  

I have attended retreats at Svartbäcken as a participant, as a co-leader and as a prayer partner (supporting the leader and the participants in a prayerful way). I have also served as an accompanying Elder in online retreats, for example those offered by the Woodbrooke Study Centre in the UK (see for their programme of on-site and distance courses).

All these experiences have been rewarding and enriching. Offering people opportunities to step back from their busy, daily lives to sink down into the still small centre within is an important ministry.

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