Monday, 16 February 2009


Great to see a feature in The Church Times last week on Pleshey, the Chelmsford Diocese Retreat House. Pleshey holds a special place in many people’s hearts and I have attended retreats and other events there for over twenty years. I live only six miles away but don’t visit nearly as often as I should.

My first experience of Pleshey was my deacons’ retreat in 1987. The retreat was both encouraging and challenging and was expertly led by Sister Carol. My second experience was the retreat before ordination as a priest and that was horrendous. Our retreat leader shall remain nameless but I gave up on the Saturday and headed to my brother’s house in nearby Chelmsford to watch the Republic of Ireland v England in the 1988 European Championships (Ireland won 1-0). I think the powers that be thought I had done a runner and didn’t want to be ordained so I had some explaining to do.

Events I’ve attended over the years have included a Clergy Leadership Programme and other CME events, leading various lay and clergy education and training events, diocesan working groups, committee meetings and Reader pre- licensing retreats. However, the most memorable times at Pleshey for me have been moments of silence in the garden, walks around the village and surrounding area and opportunities for quiet contemplation, prayer and worship in the chapel. Other highlights involve the two village pubs; The White Horse and The Leather Bottle.

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