Over the last couple of weeks we have taken our new cohort of Year 7s with their tutor on a retreat day as part of their induction into the spiritual life of St Gregory’s. The retreat programme is an essential and fulfilling part of the journey for all our young people as they go through the school. For our Year 7s it gives us the perfect opportunity after a few weeks together to take that step back and reflect on how coming together as a new community is going.
You are all God’s chosen people.” (Col 3:12)
Our theme for the retreat came from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Chapter 3) talking about being God’s chosen people before inviting everyone to clothe themselves in qualities such as kindness, patience, compassion, humility and gentleness. Using scripture from Matthew’s Gospel, we explored the treasure of who we are rather than what we have, and used this to capture the essence of ourselves with a personal letter and other bits, which have been locked away in a chest until leavers day. In the first letter of St John there is a section which asks us to allow our actions to speak louder than words, and follow our conscience. This passage formed the outline for some moving and well thought out drama from our Year 7s.
The day was littered with lots of games, activities and some quiet time which our young people threw themselves into with maturity, good humour and reflection. They were able to see the great value in being the best of themselves both as a person and collectively in their new community for the next five years. The final part of our day uses the Emmaus story as inspiration for a beautiful walk through the nearby countryside on our way home. Some groups were blessed with sunshine and the opportunity to stop at Millennium Viewpoint.
Without doubt, these retreats were some of the best I’ve ever led in my fifteen years working with young people and that was all down to the character and engagement from students. We’re incredibly proud of them and I hope you are too.
Mr M Robinson