Friday, 21 April 2017

Gospel Simplicity Quiet Day at Penhurst

I’m offering a Quiet Day at Penhurst on May 3rd, exploring minimalism, voluntary poverty and the discipline of simplicity.

Jesus said, "You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own."
We’ll be thinking about his challenge to a life of radical simplicity: 
  • the spiritual power of living with minimal possessions; 
  • the social and ecological impact of living simply; 
  • the exciting possibilities of grace (or gift) economy; reviewing our relationship with money. 

This day is for people already convinced of the need to commit to a path of simplicity and at least seriously considering voluntary poverty. 

We will be sharing our experiences of what it means to take this path, and exploring how to deepen our faithfulness in this area of discipleship.

Usually my quiet days fill up quickly, but this one has attracted only a handful of people. As somebody said to me in considerable perplexity at a discussion group once: “But . . . why would we want to give up our things?”

The choice and discipline of Gospel simplicity are not especially easy in practice, though they do bring freedom and peace. Learning from each other, and experiencing the affirmation of a shared path, will be very helpful, I think.

This is a call to come if you can. We live in unsettling times when going deeper into an understanding of simplicity is strengthening. This quiet day is intended as something of a council of the wise, and I confess I feel disappointed that so few are even interested. So far.


Even so, of course:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
~  Margaret Mead



[Attending the Quiet Day costs £25.00. This covers your lunch and snacks, and the retreat centre running costs and staff; none of it goes to me.]


21 comments:

Pen Wilcock said...

Thank you to the anonymous person who has just sent me a message via a comment here, asking me not to publish the comment but to pray for your situation. I will do so, and I'm sure God will know who you are. x

Anonymous said...

I'd come, but I'm going on a work training day the same day! I have my eye on your other Quiet Days though.

It's a challenging issue: I hope you get more takers!

- Philippa
xx

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

xx

Suze said...

How I wish I was not half a world away. I crave simplicity and quiet.

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah yes - I'd love to see you, Suze! x

gretchen said...

this is the very conversation that i would love to have. how i wish that i weren't so far away. i've read your book 'in celebration of simplicity' and just last night finished 'the clear light of day'. both books full of wisdom, serenity and, now, much underlining.
i'd love to sit in the same room with you, jabez, ember, esme and a bunch of like minded kindred of the quiet way. instead i shall content myself with praying that many will respond to your 'quiet day'. blessings!

Pen Wilcock said...

You will be with us in spirit.

xx

Elin Hagberg said...

It really sounds interesting but I wouldn't really qualify I think even if I were in neighborhood. I am almost poor but not so much for spiritual reasons and I have too much stuff despite my campaign to simplify.

I sometimes think it would be great to meet you in person but then I realize I am an extrovert and would probably freak you out as I would probably be all bubbly and happy and talk too much and too fast and overwelm you. I would be OK to be around though once I have settled in, extroverted or not, my northern Swedish culture values silence and sayings such as "a good friend is someone you can be quiet with" are actually something I agree with. I see silence as welcoming even though I know I will be the first to end it...

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

Though I am English, the Norse roots in my family are very evident in my temperament (and my children's). My father - whose surname was Stephenson - came from Scarborough, a place in northern England heavily settled by the Vikings. And you could have put my father down in Norway and thought he belonged there (not so much Sweden). We love the Scandi-dramas that come on the television, because we find we can relate very comfortably to the implicit attitudes and ways of relating. At least one of us is a fillijonk and we know the Groke through long association. From Finland, I know, but there are similarities . . . Perhaps one day we will meet. x

Look - this is my father - a very Norse face, I think. He used to like staying in fishing cabins in Norway.
http://kindredofthequietway.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/my-father.html

Elin Hagberg said...

Tove Jansson is a bit of a double agent as a Swedish-speaking Finn so she is an interesting representative of Nordic culture. I love the pictures in her stories much more than the actual story and as a child I usually got angry when my mother tried to read the story since my internal story from watching the pictures didn't match the writing. That is probably why I now like my Moomin mugs more than the books. The mugs are just a mug and I can imagine any story when I look at them (and drink from them). My sister is a total Moomin mug fanatic and has at least 30 of them that she uses as her regular coffee and tea mugs.

I think Swedes have a similar thing for British crime shows, Midsomer Murders is probably the most popular. I think it is the case of "similar but different" when it comes to culture. I like the show "Vera". I love the old show "Fawlty Towers" and still laugh every time I watch it (I have the dvd) even though I know the dialogue by heart.

Midnight sun, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4836846/, takes place in northern Sweden. I have so many feelings about this show both good and bad. My main negative feeling is that they made a lot effort to portray Sami characters of different types but it felt like they treated the rest of the population as props. If it had been intentional to show how Sami characters are sometimes used I would be more forgiving but the film makers don't seem to have made that connection.

So far I have liked this show, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6623682/, also about the north. I think that people are generally more to my taste. It is not as pretty and not as beautifully filmed as the first one but I find the characters, regardless of background, more believable and like people I would actually meet in the north.

Pen Wilcock said...

Ooh! Thank you for the links!
When I was a child, I always had the traditional reindeer-skin slippers and Norwegian cardigans. My father's first job (in the 1950s) was creating an export department for Ever-ready batteries. He was sent to Scandinavia to create a market there. He had a ciné camera and sometimes used to get somebody to film him, sometimes he filmed things himself. So through my childhood I had little home movies of my father with the Sami, and a steady inflow of postcards with Norse trolls and tomten by artists like Rolf Lidberg.
Most of the time I am content with my very small life (sustained by my very small income!) but I would love to see Scandinavia one day. Meanwhile I can watch The Bridge I identify strongly with Sofia's Asperger-type responses!) and films like The Sleigh Ride ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06t3psw/clips ).

Suze said...

How amazing. By various twists and turns in my life I have been blessed to meet and know various people from Norway and Finland. Believe it or not there is quite a large Finn population near my home.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

xx

Fiona said...

I would LOVE to come - but I'm at the other end of the country and wouldn't get back in time for the school run! I would love to hear how it goes, though, and I so much enjoy - and am invariably challenged and inspired by - your writing on the subject of simplicity. Looking forward to reading your next post on this topic, and I hope and pray the Quiet Day goes really well. Am sure those who attend will be greatly blessed by it.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

Thank you - and one day our paths will cross in real life!

Susan Jessen said...

Would have loved to come to this, but a bit short notice because of work, next time hopefully, hope it all goes well.
p.s. would you know the nearest train station please? coming from littlehampton.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

The nearest train station is Battle.

On the Penhurst website, the About Us tab has a drop-down menu that includes a Find Us option - this gives you full details of getting to the centre. This is the page you need: http://www.penhurst.org.uk/findus.php

Apart from the info in the retreat programme on the Penhurst website, you might find this post useful for thinking about the other quiet days I'm offering there this year: http://kindredofthequietway.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/my-2017-quiet-days-at-penhurst.html

If you haven't been before, I do encourage you to give Penhurst a try; people come back again and again, because it's just such a lovely place to visit.

rebecca said...

If only I could afford the flight!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

xx

rebecca said...

I'll be spending 5 days (and 4 nights) at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky the first week of June. These days of silence and reflection are ALWAYS of utmost refreshment to me -- body and spirit...

Pen Wilcock said...

How wonderful!

I've just been reading this lovely book about monastic life - https://www.amazon.com/Time-Silence-Review-Books-Classics/dp/1590172442/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493479852&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+to+keep+silence+by+patrick+leigh+fermor

My your time at Gethsemani be blessed. Have you read this most interesting record of Merton's interactions with his abbot?
https://www.amazon.com/Make-Peace-before-Goes-Down/dp/1611802253/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493479982&sr=8-1&keywords=make+peace+before+the+sun+goes+down