Looking forward to a fresh beginning
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, our retreat programme has been on hold. We have been using the time to consider how working retreats can be carried out safely in a socially distanced world, as well as to plan new forms of retreat delivered online or within commuting distance of participants.
Anticipating the possibility of a safer environment in the not too distant future, we intend to resume physical working retreats from March 2021. These include retreats abroad – and we’re aware of the need both for caution and adaptability to late changes in regulations concerning overseas travel – as well as working retreats in the UK.
In challenging times, the much-quoted Quaker entreaty to ‘live adventurously’ takes on a new, perhaps more serious meaning than often implied. We plan in hope rather than certainty that our work can go ahead, adapting our practices where necessary and inviting partners and participants to join us in the same spirit.
But living adventurously also means exploring what new things can be done when the parameters of life change around us. To that end we’ve been thinking about what forms of retreat could be meaningful that can be carried out with reduced or no face to face contact. Online events are perhaps an obvious avenue to follow and we hope to shortly announce the first of our offerings in this area, connected thematically with Borgo Basino – one of our physical retreats for 2020.
Another avenue to reduce complications connected with social distancing is the idea of a ‘commuting retreat’ – aimed at gathering participants from a small geographical area, travelling from home each day rather than being accommodated elsewhere. One benefit of this idea could be the opportunity to encounter and make connections with opportunities for voluntary service and new friends near to home. This idea is at an earlier stage of development.
Both the online retreat and the commuting retreat will shortly be the subject of a consultation through a questionnaire (online and printed on request) – watch this space if you’d like to contribute your views!
Watch this space as well for a fresh new look to QVA’s website, in development as I write… We’re very excited to be working with a talented young designer and will be launching the site very soon.