Contemplative Life

Rest for the Heart: Updates at Corhaven

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).

I’m always struck by the bluntness of the truth of Eugene Peterson’s translation of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. Retreats in general, and Corhaven in particular, have provided lifelines for me when I’ve felt I’m going under, spaces for reflection when I needed to pause, and times to be quiet and rest with God. I know I’m not the only one who thinks of Corhaven in this way, as a place where I can come to get away, to be with Jesus, and to receive life anew. When I interned at Corhaven last summer I had the honor of caring for this space and the joy of witnessing this firsthand – the profound rest visitors experienced during their stay.

There are so many ways that God gives us to receive life. And Corhaven, for many of us, is one of those ways – a sacred space to meet and be met by God. A place to recover, to be still, to be safe. Whether it has been on a personal retreat or a group retreat or part of the Coracle fellowship program, whether it has been receiving the gift of one of Tara’s delicious meals created lovingly with produce from the garden, whether it’s been lamenting with fellow pilgrims at the Corhaven graveyard, or walking in the forest and sitting by the stream, we have come here and experienced renewal.

As Coracle is preparing for and moving into “The Next Journey” for our community, we’re excited for the opportunity this provides to expand our capacities at Corhaven and build on what we’ve been able to offer there over the past twelve years. With the Haleys’ move to Arlington later this summer, we will have more space for individuals and groups to come retreat at Corhaven. With a dedicated, onsite retreat host, along with the pastoral oversight of Ken Wettig (Community Minister for the Shenandoah Valley), we will have additional ministry presence and offerings for those who visit.

As part of Coracle’s preparations related to The Next Journey – both in terms of the Haleys’ move and the updates at Corhaven – we will be closing the property from April 15 through August 31. We understand this may be disappointing news if you were hoping to plan an upcoming retreat, and you might wonder where there might be a place for you to go, so we wanted to highlight some other local options for you here in the Valley, in the DMV, and in Baltimore:

At its simplest, retreat is making space to be with our Lord. Coracle does this in many ways, so we also wanted to highlight our offerings that are created to provide us with this space, times that we can think of as “mini retreats.” That could be joining our weekly Space for God prayer time or our monthly The Deeper Journey gatherings; making an appointment to meet with a spiritual director; or another offering, like revisiting this session by Margot Eyring (Coracle’s Spiritual Direction Coordinator) on Making Your Home a Monastery.

Wherever it might be, we look forward to being on the journey with you. We are excited to gather together with many of you to bless and celebrate this new chapter at Corhaven in the Fall when we officially re-open! More details to come.

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