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Rest In Retreat


By The Rev. David M. Crosby, Assistant Rector, March 26, 2014

This past week, I took time away from Immanuel to retreat at Richmond Hill, an ecumenical Christian residential facility, for rest, fellowship, and to dedicate time to a personal project. It has been a special place for me since I entered into this ‘late vocation’ of ordained ministry. The Discernment Retreat I attended to better understand the diocesan process leading up to ordination was held there. My seminary class (VTS’12) made our 1st year retreat to Richmond Hill.

One aspect of Richmond Hill that deeply resonates with me is the resident community which supports the mission and ministry of this historic monastic setting; a VTS classmate is one of their Associate Pastors. Their primary work is “to seek God’s healing of Metropolitan Richmond through prayer, hospitality, racial reconciliation and spiritual development.” Richmond Hill offers a regular cycle ofintercessory prayer (morning, noon, and evening) during the week over the Commonwealth’s capital city. Over the Altar in the chapel, Psalm 127:1 adorns the wall, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman keeps vigil in vain.”

A retreat is commonly a ‘period of days spent away from ordinary routine, frequently in silence, and occupied in meditation and rest.’ Richmond Hill invites guests to join in their community worship, which could also include talks, reflections, and meetings or working individually with a spiritual director. Retreats are not uncommon to Immanuel. The newly-elected vestry makes retreat the weekend following the Annual Meeting. Some have experienced retreats during Advent and/or Lent at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA. In fact, our annual Shrine Mont gathering of the parish at Shrine Mont is a less-formal, loosely-structured retreat.

I walked the labyrinth called The Jerusalem Mile that looks out over the metropolitan Richmond skyline (I was glad to have that time and space for myself). I listened to music while lying on my bed to relax and read in my room. I climbed to the cupola of the Adams-Taylor House, the highest vantage point, to contemplate the history and serenity of the place. My project work was accomplished between my room and that wonderful
cupola space. I joined those gathered there for prayer in the Chapel before meals in the Refectory. I left Richmond refreshed and renewed.

Consider a personal retreat. Step away from your ordinary work of life into a refreshing time of prayer, rest, and fellowship. Please give a thought to visiting Richmond Hill for yourself.

Peace & Cheers,