A Renew, Refresh & Resource weekend at beautiful Lee Abbey.
This week’s post is a little later than usual, as I have been away for the weekend. I write this having just returned from a Renew, Refresh and Resource weekend at Lee Abbey. I’ve been visiting Lee Abbey in September for, I think, about 6 years now, usually with a group from St. Mary’s church. I love it there, with it’s mix of talks, activities and it’s beautiful, peaceful countryside on the coast of Devon, near Lynton. It even has it’s own small beach.
If you do not know of Lee Abbey, it is an international Christian community, conference venue, retreat and holiday centre. Take a look at their website. It does not currently have its own picture gallery but here is a selection of images of it’s beautiful and dramatic location, reached through the Valley of Rocks.
Advertisers will always tell you that when you visit a place or venue, that you are “assured of a warm welcome”. If you substitute “polite” for “warm” that would usually be more correct but at Lee Abbey I have always found it to be a warm welcome. Something else you will find at Lee Abbey, that you don’t often get in other places is that people talk to each other. It’s not just cursory greetings as you pass by, you find yourself holding conversations with people you’ve never met before.
I have heard Lee Abbey described as “a thin place” and if you visit chances are you might hear someone use the term too. “Thin” here describes a feeling that here is a place where you can be closer to Heaven and to God. It is where the barriers between worlds seem to blur. It’s not something easy to describe and I imagine that each visitor would experience it in a slightly different way, if they open themselves up to let the Holy Spirit fill them and guide them.
Being a Christian isn’t just a Lee Abbey thing, or just a Sunday thing. It’s supposed to be an everyday thing, a way to live. Do we all live that way everyday? I don’t and I suspect a lot more of us don’t either. From time to time we need reminding about our faith, our church and how Christians should live. Lee Abbey is that reminder, a very gentle reminder and also a very big reminder of how life might be if we lived as Jesus tried to tach us to. It’s a place for thoughts and ideas, for inspiration and meditation to take back to our churches and our lives.
Some years ago, before I retired, I attended a ‘team building’ day, somewhat disparagingly referred to as a ‘tree hugging’ day, with work colleagues. Our then team leader used an allusion that seems to work for a visit to Lee Abbey, at least for me: When a saw has been used for a long time, its teeth get worn and so it doesn’t cut well. It takes longer to make a cut and does not leave a clean finish. Do we just keep cutting with the blunt saw? No, we stop and take the time to sharpen the saw, which now not only cuts faster but leaves a clean finish too.
I think that once in a while a visit to Lee Abbey helps me sharpen up; it Renews, Refreshes and Resources me.
What about you?
A Haiku Reflection of Lee Abbey:
The music of God’s Holy Spirit
The lullaby of creation
All pictures in this post and the three crosses at the
head of this blog were taken by me at Lee Abbey.