THERE are a great variety of conference and retreat centres in this country. They cater for anything from conferences of 130 to the individual wanting a day or a weekend away from it all. The following is a selection of centres, and others appear among the advertisements in this supplement.
All Saints Pastoral Centre
Accommodates 120 mostly single rooms with a few doubles. Conference rooms of various sizes, chapel, spacious grounds.
Founded by Cardinal Heenan, the centre is open to all denominations and organisations of goodwill, for example the Transcendental Meditation Movement. Canon Peter Bourne the director, Fr Harry Turner, assistant director and Canon Reginald Cook are available to give retreats conferences.
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f all the staff is to be at the disposal of every group so that they feel at home and free to pursue their purpose. The principle value of the centre is the atmosphere of peace which pervades the beautiful buildings.
Contact: Canon Peter Bourne, Director, All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, Hertfordshire AL2 IAF.
Wood Hall Centre
Accommodates 90 in single, double, five-bed and eight-bed rooms; lecture hall, book room, small chapel. Wood Hall has been established for 10 years as an ecumenical conference centre. Half of the accommodation is in Wood Hall itself, a large Georgian house and the rest is in cottages in the extensive wooded grounds. i Guests can go to Mass at a nearby Carmelite monastery.
The centre is open to all denominations and offers a variety of conferences. From September 16 to 18 there will be a conference entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers. Speakers will include the founders of the Northern Ireland Peace People. At the end of October, Fr Michael Hollings will conduct a weekend on prayer and daily life.
Contact: Fr Gerard Spelman Director, Wood Hall Centre, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.
Aylesford Priory Accommodates 90 in single and double rooms. Hall for 100, three seminar rooms, bar, chapel. Perhaps best known for its Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Cannel and St Simon Stock, which is the site of many pilgrimages, the priory has recently built a modern conference centre which is available for both retreats and conferences.
Regular days of reflection for sisters are held and forthcoming events include conferences on The Dynamics of Prayer from September 5 to 9, the Prayer of the Church from September 16 to 18 and a weekend course in group work for religious from November 18 to 20.
Contact: Retreat Director, Aylesford Priory, Aylesford, Maidstone, Kent ME20 7B X.
Park Place Pastoral Centre Accommodates 70 in single and double rooms; hall for 180, discussion rooms, chapel, swimming pool, bar, extensive grounds.
An old house with modern accommodation blocks and a beautiful chapel set in its own grounds in a lovely part of Hampshire. Staffed by a secular priest of the Portsmouth diocese and a community of Franciscan sisters. More than 4,000 people of all denominations _use the centre each year.
The centre's aim is pastoral and spiritual renewal, and its approach, to support a response of faith in a way that is significant amid the conflicting values of today. Contact: Rev A. Cashman, Director, Park Place Pastoral Centre, Wickham, Fareham, Hampshire, P017 5HA.
Hawkstone Hall Sixty-live bedrooms, two large conference rooms, six discussion rooms, chapel, bar, library, spacious grounds, swimming pool, tennis courts, woodlands.
Each year the centre runs three renewal courses lasting three months and attended by about 50 priests and religious from all over the world, The centre fosters the study of religious questions both by residential courses and correspondence. These courses relate the Catholic tradition to current problems, especially to the process of renewal in Christian faith and morality.
Contact: Fr J. McManus, Director, Hawkstone Hall, Weston, Shrewsbury, SY4 5 LG.
Our Lady's Priory .
Accommodates 60 in single and double rooms and dormitory cubicles and 40 non-residents; hall, seminar rooms, library, common rooms, extensive grounds, two tennis courts, audio-visual equipment, chapel and oratory. After the closure of their school in 1972, the Canonesses Regular of St Augustine at Haywards Heath have opened their doors to groups or individuals for retreats, study weekends or conferences.
Contact; Sister Mary Brigid, Priory of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Haywards Heath, Sussex.
Savio House Accommodates 50 in single rooms; three conference rooms, lounge, chapel, library. The Salesians have put a lot of hard work into developing Savio Hpuse as a retreat centre. They have converted a coach-house and stables into a conference centre and have renovated an old farmhouse which now serves as a hostel for field stud'y groups and outwardbound parties.
Contact: Fr J. Collett SDB, Ingersley Road, Bollington, Macclesfield.
Accommodates 50; lounge.
The Redemptorist Fathers who run Bishop Eton welcome everyone from secondary school pupils to Anglican ordinands. The retreat centre is also popular for clergy retreats.
Contact: Fr Brian Russell CSSR, The Retreat House, Bishop Eton, Liverpool 16.
The Cenacle has a number of centres throughout the country in cluding Liverpool, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Manchester. It offers perhaps the widest range of retreats including private retreats, dialogue weekends, charismatic retreats and "drop-in days", where anyone may visit the centre between 9.30 and 5 pm to gay, talk, discuss and share with others various aspects of the Christian life.
Contact: Retreat Director, Cenacle Retreat and Conference Centre, Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey, or Parliament Lane, Burnham, Bucks SL1 8NU or 28 Alexandra Road, South Manchester MI6 8HU or 7 Lance Lane, Wavertree, Liverpool 115 6TW.
Clapham Park Conference Centre Accommodates 38 in single rooms; lecture room, two lounges, library, chapel, tennis court, golf club nearby.
Clapham House Conference Centre is run by the Daughters of the Holy Ghost and can be used by groups or indiyiduals for conferences or retreats.
Contact: Sister Joan Ware DHG, Retreat and Conference Centre, Clapham Park, Bedford.
A llington Castle Accommodates 45 in single and double rooms and dormitories. Main hall, discussion rooms, library, chapel.
An historic building, the castle is run by the Order of Carmelites. The programme of activities varies from retreats to cultural activities, but the monastic tradition of hospitality for individuals seeking peace and quiet is maintained.
The Southwark diocese has recognised the castle as a pastoral centre for youth and school retreats, integrated study courses and conferences for school levers are frequently held.
Contact: Fr Wilfrid McGreal, Warden, Allington Castle, Maidstone, Kent.
Accommodates 40 in single, double or four-bed rooms; lecture room, library, study, bar, and chapel.
The centre is used by groups from primary and secondary schools, individuals, and weekend adult, family and youth group gatherings. Contact: Fr Michael Bell, The Briars Residential Centre, Crich, Matlock, Derbyshire.