There is Hope…

What a time we have all been through over this last 2 or 3 years. COVID (which continues…) and the lock-downs, the pain and suffering through those days as well as the lose of loved ones in exceptional times and circumstances. We then, mid 2021, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, lock-downs eased, ‘normal’ life was slowly returning.

Then this year we witness the war in Ukraine, increasing prices across the board, a serious economic/cost of living issue for many, the shenanigans within parliament (all round!) and I’m sure you can highlight many more instances. Where will it end?

In John 16:33 we read;

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world
you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I trust you are encouraged by this, there is hope, it doesn’t mean things will get easier immediately but we need to hold on to the truth of Jesus and His promise to us.

 

We continue to be greatly encouraged by the number of enquiries and bookings we are receiving and look froward to what is to come.

In these weeks we have been able to welcome 2 new members of staff as well as a couple of volunteers. We are still looking to fill a position or two and more details can be found by clicking on this link – Vacancies & Volunteers.

 

So what do we have happening in the coming weeks?
As well as continuing to be here for individuals and groups/churches to use us for personal/group Quiet Days and Retreats, we have programmed in some events to offer something a little different.

  • Saturday 16th JulyHouse Open Day – a day for everyone to come and enjoy St Katharine’s, Parmoor and The Lady Ryder Memorial Garden.
  • Midweek SabbathMonday 1st to Thursday 4th August – a led retreat with Revd Vanessa Appleton – come for a day, a night or longer – a time to recharge and relax in the beautiful surroundings of St Katharine’s, Parmoor.
  • Sunday 28th August – after the success of last years event, OperaAnywhere will be presenting Pirates of Penzance – bring your picnics, chairs & blankets and enjoy an afternoon at the opera! This is an outdoor event.
  • Friday 9th to Sunday 11th September – a Making Melody weekend with Dave & Pat Bilbrough.

Please click on the links for further details.

        

And finally…

Are you a qualified or experienced Spiritual Director?
We are creating a team of Chaplains at St Katharine’s, Parmoor allowing us to offer pastoral ministry to those on retreat as well as for the staff and volunteers working here.
Further details are available from Stewart McCredie (Director) – office@srpf.org.uk or 01494 881037

See I am doing a new thing…

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-9
What a couple of years! A journey that none of us will have wanted to be a part of, but one that has impacted everyone! Although we will not see the back of COVID-19 and the turmoil it has brought, there is a future…and a bright one!

The verse above, was given to me in recent weeks and it spoke immediately of the journey that St Katharine’s, Parmoor has been on these last few years. I arrived here on the 1st February 2019 and it has certainly not been the 3 years we were expecting it to be. However, we have got through and we are looking forward to the coming year and beyond as we develop and grow as He leads.

Importantly, this is a verse for each and everyone one of us and I trust and pray that as you read it, you receive the peace and knowledge that ‘…it’s going to be alright!’

 

Whilst we have come so far in the last 3 years, we can dwell and rejoice on that but we want to look forward and all that we hope to achieve. So what does the next few months have in store for St Katharine’s, Parmoor?

Please click on the following links for more details.

We have put together (and are adding to) a programme of Retreats, Quiet Days and some other events.

Holy Week Quiet Days/Retreat, 2 music retreats with Marilyn Baker Ministries and then Dave & Pat Bilbrough. And the year ends with an Advent Retreat and Quiet Day.

Can we encourage you to pop on to our Social Media platforms by click the following links;
Facebook        Twitter          Instagram
Please look out for our ‘Monday Musings’ on Facebook and Instagram. Members of the Sue Ryder Prayer Fellowship provide these and give some food for thought at the start of your week.

 

We continue to provide space – both for the day and residentially – for;

  • individuals
  • prayer/friendship/parish groups
  • leadership teams
  • and other groupings

Please visit our website to see, or call us to talk through, what we are able to offer.

Other News…
We are constantly looking to see where we can improve who we are and what we offer. Here are some things we are working through already…

Chaplaincy Team – a team of people who will provide a spiritual input to the life of the House. Being available to regularly pray for the House and provide Spiritual Direction for any guests seeking such input. We are just working through the process and more details will be available in the next Newsletter.

Open Day – Saturday 16th July – after the success of last year’s event, we are in the early stages of planning for this year. There will be opportunity to look around the house, hear some of it’s history. We will have another array of craft stalls to peruse and Marlow Town band will once again provide some music.
Importantly, we will also be marking the 10th Anniversary of the Lady Ryder Memorial Garden and celebrating the great work that is done there.

Refurbishments – we are in the early stages of looking at the feasibility of;

         – installing a lift in the main house which will improve accessibility for many;
– converting one of the bedrooms on the first floor to an ‘all-access’ room;
– providing some more ensuite bedrooms.

These refurbishments will clearly not be cheap and we are looking at putting together a fundraising project for this specific work. More details will be available in due course

In recent weeks we have been able to welcome some wonderful volunteers/part-time staff, who are all settling in well. We do continue to look for people to assist in the work that we are carrying out here.

If through these last months, you have, or know of someone who has been reconsidering the journey going forward, we are able to offer opportunities for a change of direction. If this attracts or gives reason to think further, please get in touch. We are open to part-time, live-in, short or longer term opportunities.

Who would have known…

Following our previous update, who would have known the journey we would still be traveling, individually as well as nationally!

We’ve just heard of the plans for post 19th July and what that means to each of us. We have been so thrilled to be able to welcome small groups and individuals again over these last weeks and we see the 19th as a point where we can open the front doors even wider and welcome many of you back – or if you haven’t been before, for the first of many times.

It has been an interesting and challenging time for the House over this last year and I have touched on that in previous updates, but we haven’t been doing nothing. We have been able to keep the grounds looking splendid as well as organise some events for the remainder of the year. You will find more details of each of these by clicking on the links below.

If we can highlight at this point that we are currently looking to employ an Assistant Cook and we would really appreciate you making the attached advert available to friends/colleagues. It may be that, following this last year or so, someone is looking for a change in life-style/direction and this may be of interest to them. ‘Living in’ is an option. They do need to be able to cook!!

So…what do we have planned?

Sunday 15th August – something a little different…

The Magic Flute brought to us by Opera Anywhere. Tickets £30 only from Ticketsource.co.uk

An outdoor performance – bring your own chairs, blankets, waterproofs etc!

Marrying Mozart’s beautiful music with a witty script, this production of The Magic Flute celebrates the birth of teen culture in this timeless coming-of-age story delving into the other-worldliness which glamourous Hollywood brought to post blitz London.

 

Saturday 4th September – St Katharine’s Open Day – come and see what we offer and browse the various art & craft stalls gathered. Marlow Town Band will bring a short programme of familiar music. Take the opportunity to visit the Lady Ryder Memorial Garden – our very own walled garden. Make a day of it – bring a picnic/chairs/blankets and enjoy our beautiful grounds.

 

Saturday 20th November Advent Quiet Day with Revd Rob Pestell. An opportunity of space for quiet and reflection in preparation for the journey through the season of Advent.

 

Saturday 26th to Sunday 28th November Advent Retreat with The Revd Dr Malcolm Guite. In the course of this retreat Malcolm will reflect on seven wonderful prayers approaching each one through the medium of a sonnet…

 

Saturday 4th December Christmas Sing Day – Open to all who enjoy celebrating Christmas in song. If you play a musical instrument, please let us know and bring it with you.

Through December we will also be offering the opportunity for you to enjoy a wonderful Parmoor Christmas Lunch in our Entrance Hall with a real Christmas tree and roaring log-fire. More details in due course.

Can we take this opportunity to remind you that we are also here for;

  • Self-led Quiet Days/Retreats for individuals/groups or parishes (up to 36 people can be accommodated residentially).
  • Day events/meetings (up to 80 people can be catered for).
  • Afternoon Teas, Birthday/Anniversary Lunches for those in the local area.

If you’d like more information around any of these, please contact us – office@srpf.org.uk or Tel: 01494 881037

We trust and pray that you are well and look forward to either hearing from you, or being able to welcome you in the coming weeks and months.

Stewart McCredie – Director

The ‘Road-Map’ Forward

As we start to see the relaxing of restrictions in the coming weeks, we should be encouraged that we will soon be able to enjoy the ‘new reality’ that awaits us. One where we can start to gather again and enjoy being around other people. I’m not sure that things will ever be quite the same as before, but maybe that might not be such a bad thing in some situations.

Needless to say, we can’t wait to be able to open our doors again to welcome people into the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of St Katharine’s, Parmoor. So when might that be?

  • Steps 1 and 2 of the road-map don’t have any effect on us as far as being able to re-open.
  • Step 3 advises that on the 17th May, we are able to re-open for individuals and groups of up to 6 people. That is both for residential stays and day events. We hope to be able to offer our Afternoon Teas again and will post further about this nearer the time.
  • Step 4 suggests that there will no longer be any legal limits around social contact – although there is no guidance as to what might be in place in the short term. We are of course monitoring this and will make decisions based on the most recent information available.

House Retreats and Quiet Days.

What a wonderful day we had on the 17th February with our Lent Reflections (available to view via the Reflections tab at the top of this screen) . We were greatly encouraged by the number of people who joined us online and are also grateful for the feedback received. We had nearly 3 times as many people on line as we would have had in person. We are truly thankful for this.

Following on from this, we have organised 4 Quiet Days (with a difference) for Holy Week – which will all be online – offering the opportunity to take some time out to think around the story of Easter. The difference with these are that they are not full days, but 3hrs out of what is for many still a busy time. (They will play 3 times through each day). Like our Lent Reflections, this offers the opportunity to more people to take some time out. For more details on these and other events through the rest of 2021, pop over to our Events Page.

We are of course, still available for individuals and groups to book their own time here for self led retreats and days. Please contact the office for availability/prices etc. We are greatly encouraged by the number of bookings we have for the 2nd half of this year so please don’t hesitate and get in contact with us.

We pray that you keep safe and in particular, well and we look forward to hearing from many of you in the coming weeks.

Lent Reflections

On Ash Wednesday, we ran a ‘virtual’ Quiet Day. We asked 8 people to video short thoughts/reflections around Lent. These were played via YouTube and Zoom. Each one was followed by a time of quiet, allowing the opportunity to ‘ponder and pray’ through the thoughts brought in the video.

We have posted links to these videos below and would encourage you to visit one of these each day through Lent giving yourself time afterwards to think and pray through what you have heard.

Revd Sue Lepp – https://youtu.be/jXa2ejE5wqA

Anthea Wratten – https://youtu.be/5shneTgFZ2Y

Revd Sam Brewster – https://youtu.be/KxWZMwkFQVU

Revd Graham Watts – https://youtu.be/YkxYNIBr550

Revd Canon Rosie Harper – https://youtu.be/CSaRIjgMGyg

Revd Dave Bull – https://youtu.be/tD3QRQ2Lv_g

Lauren Talbot – https://youtu.be/iV3AnjS_W98

Al Bullen – https://youtu.be/NvhyHf-nN4E

Final Benediction – Jonathan Veira singing Go Peaceful (written by Paul Field) https://youtu.be/16n-y2zlJYk

Everlasting Hope in 2021

Everlasting Hope as we move into 2021

What a year 2020 was! A year none of us could have possibly anticipated what we would experience. Our prayer is that you have kept well throughout this time. We know that not many have escaped the effects of Covid-19 in one way or another and that so many have been and remain unwell as a result, lost loved ones, jobs, income – the list goes on…

The vaccines that are now available are giving hope to so many as the programme is rolled out with many of the most vulnerable having already been offered theirs.

Of course, we know of the Everlasting Hope that there is in Jesus – and we look to Him, particularly at this time and by His grace we will get through these tough days.

We are now over half way through January – and many will be wondering what the rest of this year holds?

There is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine programme and we can start to plan ahead – something that was so so difficult to do last year.

What we have to offer at St Katharine’s, Parmoor

For those that don’t know where we are, we are situated between Marlow, Henley on Thames and High Wycombe being easily accessible from both the M4 and M40.

  • We currently have 22 bedrooms (accommodating up to 36 people) split between the main house and St Joseph’s annexe. The majority of rooms in the main house are en-suite – St Joseph’s are shared facilities.
  • Individuals as well as groups (parish, cell, friendship, leadership teams, etc) are all welcome. Whether for a day, overnight or longer.
  • We have various meeting spaces, the largest being the Chapel which can accommodate around 80 people.
  • We are able to cater/feed up to 80 people – the majority of the produce we use is grown in our very own Lady Ryder Memorial Garden – a 1 acre walled garden on site.
  • We are in the process of putting together a programme of events for the rest of 2021 and these Retreats and Quiet Days will be shown on our website in due course. We are hoping to be able to hold the first of these in Holy Week – subject to relevant guidance applicable at the time.
  • We also have access to 3 bursary schemes which might be able to assist with the cost of a retreat for individuals (conditions apply).

Please visit our website for more information or invite me to come* and ‘present’ to any group you think appropriate and talk through what we offer and the benefits of retreats/time-out. My fee is only a couple of mugs of tea/coffee and biscuits (preferably chocolate).
*once restrictions allow

Can we ask you to consider the following:

  • making contact with us to find out a little bit more;
  • taking some time out on personal retreat – whether for just a few hours, a day or more;
  • forward this email on to any colleague(s) who may be thinking of a retreat;
  • pray for us in these challenging days.

It’s Been A While…

The doors to St Katharine’s Parmoor opened again in early August and since then we have been able to welcome individuals and ‘bubbles’ to the lovely surroundings of Parmoor.

Lots of work has gone into making the House safe and secure, in line with COVID guidelines, and we are confident that we have done what is required to keep you safe while visiting here.

Day and overnight retreats are possible, as well as some day group events. Please contact the office for more details.

We are delighted to let you know about two bursary schemes that have been made available. They both recognise the incredible effort that so many in the medical and care professions have made, particularly in these last few months.

There is also some further detail about some events through the rest of 2020.

For more information about all of the following please contact Lucy or myself (Stewart) in the office

NHS Bursary

Made available by the Association for Promoting Retreats – This bursary is for any NHS/Care-worker staff to receive 50% (up to a max of £150) off the cost of a day or retreat at any APR member house.

Sue Ryder Bursary

Made available by the Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust – Available for staff from any Sue Ryder facility to have some time at St Katharine’s, Parmoor – to rest, relax, reflect and refresh.

 

We also have two Quiet Days through November

Rest for the Weary – November 7 @ 9:15 am – 4:00 pm

A day to stop – to rest – to relax – to explore different rhythms of living your life.

There will be space for personal reflections and prayers as well as times together using creative media.

This day is led in the Christian tradition but is open to anyone of faith or no faith.

Anthea Wratten – along with her husband Paul, leads River Church Marlow. Anthea is also a therapist working in private practice and as such brings a lovely blend of spiritual and psychological insights into our daily lives.

Cost: £35 to include lunch and refreshments

If you follow the Star – November 21 @ 9:15 am – 4:00 pm

An opportunity of space for quiet and reflection in preparation for the journey through the season of Advent. An offering of various resources to enter into the mystery and wonder of the coming of the Christchild.

The Revd Robert Pestell (Vice-chair to the Trustees of the Sue Ryder Prayer Fellowship and Chaplain at the Sue Ryder, Leckhampton Court Hospice ) – recently celebrated 25 years as an Anglican Priest having been a parish priest for most of that time. For the last 6 years he has been Chaplain at Leckhampton Court.

Cost: £35 to include lunch and refreshments

 

As the cold winter months descend on us, we are offering two options of meeting with up to 5 of your family or friends.

Afternoon Teas – (£18 per person) running throughout November

We are taking bookings, for groups of up to 6 people, for Afternoon Teas. Can we encourage you to come along and enjoy one of St Katharine’s delightful Teas.

If the weather is suitable, it might be possible to have a wander around The Lady Memorial Walled Garden.

Christmas Lunches/Dinners (£30 per person) from the 1st to 23rd December

As we come to the end of a rather strange, and for many, extremely challenging year, can we encourage you to book a delightful Christmas Lunch/Dinner for yourself and up to five friends.

A large proportion of the produce used will have been grown in our very own Lady Ryder Memorial Garden.

 

As mentioned previously, we are confident that the actions taken here are such that anyone visiting St Katharine’s, Parmoor will feel safe and secure in the beautiful surroundings. This link will take you to our ‘Be Safe, Be Well‘ document that outlines the steps we have taken and what we ask of anyone visiting/staying here.

We wish you well in these difficult days and pray that you keep well. Whatever the future has in store, never let go of hope.

Are We nearly There Yet? Yes we are…

The above phrase is one that many of us will have heard from the back-seat of the car on long journeys!! The eagerness and anticipation of getting to a destination but the need for patience and enjoying the moment! Then when nearly there, heavy traffic, roadworks and diversions slow things down or divert a different route. We certainly appear to be a long way into our journey but despite the eagerness and anticipation, we do need to be patient.

However, we are really pleased to be able to announce that we will start to open our doors once again. From the 1st August we will be in a position to consider taking individuals, or people from the same household or pre-existing ‘support/social bubble’.

We are doing everything we can to ensure that during your visit to St Katharine’s Parmoor you are safe, secure and protected. Please follow this link to see our Be Safe Be Well guidance. If you have any questions about being safe and well during your stay at St Katharine’s please get in touch and we will gladly help.

Prior to the lock-down, we had managed to build a good momentum with regards to the life of the House and spreading the word about what we have to offer alongside our Programme of Events. This hit a brick wall on the 24th March.

Can we now ask and encourage you to ‘spread the word’ again of what St Katharine’s, Parmoor has to offer.

This has been a tough period for the house and changes have had to be made but we are here, ready to go and we look forward to welcoming many of you across the doorstep again in the near future.

We have a programme of Quiet Days and Retreats for the rest of the year and would encourage you to consider booking on to one or some of these. Further details are available on our Events page on this website.

One event not previously detailed is a 48 hour Christmas Retreat. It will run from the 24th to the 26th December. It is not a traditional silent retreat but nor is it a house party. There will be some time for reflection but also singing round the Christmas tree amongst other activities. This is mainly, but not exclusively, for those who might spend Christmas on their own or away from extended family. Further details will be available in September.

We continue to wish you well and that you keep safe in these changing days. For any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

With very best wishes
Stewart McCredie – Director

2020 Programme of Retreats and Quiet Days

We have been working hard behind the scenes putting together a programme of retreats and quiet days for 2020.

At my previous house, and indeed many retreat houses across the country, these are wonderfully uplifting events. We have attempted to get a good variety of topics for this first year. we pray that there is something there for everyone.

If you follow this link, 2020 Retreats and Quiet Days, you will find a list of all our events for this year.

As we finalise titles and finer detail we are releasing this information now so that people are able to consider what they might like to ‘sign up’ for. Please click here to open our 2020 Programme Booklet.

  • Quiet Days will cost £35 to also include lunch. Arrival is from 9:30am for a 10:00am start. The days will end around 3:30/4:00 with Tea/Coffee and cake.
  • Retreats will cost £185 on the basis of an ensuite room and all meals. Retreats will generally begin with Supper at 6:30 on the first evening finishing after lunch on the final day.

Booking forms and further information can be obtained by contacting the office.

This programme does not prevent parishes, staff teams, individuals etc from booking retreats and quiet days as previously.

Christmas Lunch at St Katharine’s

Through December 2019, we served 111 of our delightful Christmas Dinners. Mary & Julie put together a lovely menu, making use of a lot of produce that was grown in our very own Lady Ryder Memorial Garden.

We are so please to have received so much complimentary feedback and are already looking forward to being able to host groups in December 2020.

Please do bear us in mind next year. Lucy will be able to provide further details later in 2020.

As a ‘taster’ for anyone wondering what the menu choices might be for next year, the 2019 menu can be found by clicking on this link – 2019 Christmas Menu

Thank you for a wonderful afternoon tea.

Oasis, Christ Church - Jul 2018

Thank you for having us! Great stay, lovely garden and helpful staff. See you again next year.

Vacation Project, Lincoln College Oxford - Aug 2018

The success of the weekend was helped ... by the quality of the accommodation ... the generous provision of our food but perhaps most of all the staff

Bereaved dads' weekend Nov 2018

This has been a wonderful caring time. Thank you St Katharine's staff team.

NW & JT, Marlow - Oct 2018

Thank you so much for everything that you and your team did for our family yesterday. Everything went so smoothly and everyone said what a wonderful venue St Katharine's was both in terms of food and venue. Your team were absolutely outstanding and made the day very easy for us.

CM - Feb 2020

Thank you for a wonderful stay. It was perfect. The memorial garden is wonderful and so good to have time to sit and appreciate the atmosphere.

Rosemary

Just wanted to thank you for the lovely day we spent on Saturday. I felt very welcome, the food was delicious and the grounds were so peaceful. It was really good to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours. Please convey my thanks to all who were involved. May God bless you all

J.K. London 2022