St John & St Mark Church, Bury

Church retreat

We have provisionally booked  23rd - 26th May, 2018. So please make a note in your diaries!

The main Retreat this year was Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th May.

Blessed with good weather for the 4 days we started off at Southport for a meal and a mooch round the shops, arriving at St Joseph's Prayer Centre in the late afternoon. After dinner/tea (depending on what part of the country you come from) we joined the Sisters for their contemplative Taize service.

On the Thursday, some of the early risers went looking for red squirrels before breakfast. Gill then led us in two studies of Mary and Martha. In the afternoon we sent to see the men on Crosby beach. After tea we had evening prayer and a chance to read or explore the local area.

On the Friday, Dave led us in studies of The Transfiguration and Jesus as a boy in the temple. In between we visited the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, stocking up on books (and one of us, you know who you are, with beer brewed on the Cathedral premises...). Then on Friday night it was up to the pub to help the local economy.

On the last day, Ian led us through the story of the Road to Emmaus and after lunch we finished with an act of worship.

Each of the studies were taken from Luke and had a theme of 'journeying' going through them. There was plenty of spare time over the 4 days to enjoy the immediate surroundings or just to be quiet. Whilst we had fewer numbers than in other years it was good to spend time away from our normal responsibilities, to enjoy each others company and be challenged by the passages of Scripture that we were looking at.

One-day Retreat October 8th 2016

It's tradition for some at St. John with St. Mark to go on a three-day retreat to the St. Joseph’s Prayer Centre in Formby, leading up to the late May Bank Holiday. To give others a 'taster' of this experience a one day visit was arranged on Saturday 8th October.

Thirteen of us from across the two congregations met at 9.00 am for a car share to the Centre, arriving just after 10.00 am for coffee and a brief history of the Centre by Sister Nora, who then gave us a tour, showing us around the chapels, meeting rooms, bedrooms and rest rooms.

Our theme for the last May retreat was Christian Devotional Meditation and this theme was continued today. Gill opened with ‘The Raisin Meditation’. We each had two minutes to examine and consume one raisin, concentrating solely on the raisin and how it looked, felt and tasted (you had to be there!).

We then read, studied and discussed five passages from scripture based on the theme of Christian Mindfulness, the gentle effort to be continuously present and an awareness of ourselves and the world around us.

After this we made our way to the dining room for a lovely roast pork lunch served by the Sisters, followed by a selection of desserts.

There was some free time after lunch and as it was such a beautiful day we used the opportunity to walk through the dunes to Formby beach. Along the way we encountered an outdoor gym. I must congratulate Jennifer on conquering the equipment much better than I did. We sat on the beach in the Autumn sunshine for a while before returning back to the centre for refreshments and the afternoon session.

Ian led the afternoon for us, where we studied the story of Elijah on Mount Horeb - how rest was important for people who 'do' as well as facing the questions "what are you doing here" or more pointedly "who are you here"? There was a final reflection from Ian before we closed the day with worship led by Gill and shared Communion in the Chapel.

We made our way home to Bury around 4.30pm and the general feeling was that everybody who had attended had benefitted from and enjoyed the whole day. David

May Retreat: The 2016 Retreat was from 25th - 28th May and led this year by Gill Barnett. As before it was at St Joseph's Prayer Centre and the theme this year was Christian Mindfulness.

We had a number of short prayer and study sessions but with plenty of free time in between to explore the area or just stay in the centre.

The Centre is surrounded by National Trust forest and is just a few minutes walk from the sandy beach so those who were able took the opportunity for some exercise and fresh air - and again this year we saw plenty of red squirrels!

The sessions included:

  • What is Mindfulness - Psalm 139
  • What is Christian Mindfulness - Psalm 42, Luke 10
  • Make the most of each moment - Ecclesiastes 3
  • What comes around, goes around - Isaiah 38, Psalm 78, Luke 22, Matthew 10
  • Finding peace in troubled times - Jonah
  • Something from nothing - 1 Kings 19
  • Leaving burdens behind - Genesis 19

We've provisionally booked the centre for the same period next year, running up to the second bank holiday in May.

Please click here if you want to learn more about the ongoing work of the Prayer Centre.