More than group hugs: Try our Men's Online Retreat
POST BY AWentworth
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 12:58
Going on an a weekend retreat is the last thing some men would think of doing – which is exactly why we think it’s worth having a ‘men only’ gathering to explore together how Jesus is wanting to relate to us as men in our times.
One of our previous participants shares his sense of trepidation before he joined his first men’s retreat:
“I’ll admit that the idea of going to an all-male weekend retreat didn’t immediately grab me. Male-only sharing conjured up scenes in my mind from Adam Sandler movies where the main character finally learns to let out his feelings in a circle of odd-ball blokes before moving into a cathartic group hug. It all sounded a bit macho and even anachronistic. ‘What would we be expected to do?’ I wondered. ‘Chop down trees, dance bare-chested round a camp fire while letting out ‘barbaric yawps’ from time to time? I’m not so sure that’s my cup of tea.’
“Well, as it turned out the retreat did involve a camp fire - but the bare-chested dancing was optional. In fact, the suggested activities, prayer and sharing were much more up my street than I had thought.
“I really valued how welcomed and accepted I was. No prior knowledge, experience or faith commitment was expected: only the openness to explore what praying might look like for me, and to try some of the exercises offered. The guided prayer times were really helpful for me – especially praying using the imagination. I was encouraged to start from where I was and to respect, and pay attention to, my own experience. There was space to explore more about prayer and Ignatian spirituality, and the tone was never patronising or judgemental.
“Unexpectedly, some of the highlights of the retreat for me ended up coming out of the sharing and conversations with other participants. I realised afterwards that I had undervalued the importance of spaces for men to talk and relate to each other beyond a superficial level.
“This year’s retreat is being offered in a very simple and free format online. I would encourage anyone to give it a try, even if it is not something you would typically think about doing.
“The campfire might only be virtual this year, but I am sure you will find something positive to take away whatever you might be looking for.”
The time commitment for the weekend is as follows:
- Friday 3rd July 8pm – 9pm;
- Saturday 10am – 12noon; and 8pm – 9pm;
- Sunday 3pm.
We’ll also give you something to do on your own on the Saturday so you will need some space that day too. (This might get you out of mowing the lawn.)
To register interest and receive the zoom link for the weekend, email St Beuno’s at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining that you would like to join the men’s online retreat. And we hope to see you on the 3rd.