Retreats and Quiet Days

Many people want to know what a retreat is and what to expect.

The Fellowship holds retreats in different parts of the country. Usually there will be between 10 and 30 people participating in the retreat with you, which will have been organised by a 'secretary' and will be led by someone who is experienced in the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer.

Almost always the retreats are silent following the first meal until the final meal before everyone goes home.

There will probably be an opening meeting which will enable all those involved to introduce themselves, and during which the programme and other details will be explained as necessary.

Silence is kept within the retreat house to enable a sense of stillness to provide the best atmosphere for the 'listening' prayer of the Fellowship. There will usually be an opportunity for participants to speak with the leader (usually known as 'the Witness of the Word' or simply 'the Witness') during times that are made available during the retreat. Often an afternoon is kept free for relaxation and rest.

During the retreat there will be a number of Contemplative Exercises which will each last about an hour. These contemplative times are the heart of the retreat. There will usually also be some form of worship incorporated within the programme - this could be in the form of morning or evening prayer, Compline or the Eucharist.

Retreatants pay for their own accommodation, and may also like to make a donation towards the costs of running the retreat. No one should be prevented from going on retreat by the cost and there are FCP bursaries available to help in situations where this is an issue.

Many groups organise local Quiet Days for members and others, which will not involve an overnight stay.