Sunday, 20 October 2013

Open House Volunteer Retreat Day

In the gardens of the Kairos Centre
Although we have not yet started volunteering at Open House we were invited along on their Volunteer Retreat Day yesterday.  It was out at the Kairos Centre in Roehampton.  It was a great day, both in terms of weather and the retreat.  We headed off at 9.45am in the minibus and made it there in 45mins, which is pretty good so we are told.  We were greeted by the Sisters who run the Kairos Centre.  They are the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, the same congregation as Sr Mary, our Parish Sister.  The Kairos Centre has some very beautiful gardens which we were free to wander through. 

SPES were definitely here
There was tea, coffee and biscuits available for us also when we arrived so of course we all had to have a cup of tea.  No point wasting time sitting inside so we took our tea outside. Don't worry we were good and returned the cups, once we collected them all off the grass.  The others gradually arrived and it was time to begin. 

Fr Alex speaking to us about Open House
We began our retreat with a prayer before Fr Alex gave us a spiritual talk/reflection.  He spoke beautifully about our need for God's mercy and forgiveness and how we must extend it to others.  His talk focused on how we can do this with our guests at Open House.  After Fr Alex's talk we had some time to go away by ourselves to reflect on what we had heard and to pray about it.  We gathered again for some lunch and then we shared some of our thoughts about Open House, about what is working well, what we can improve on and generally how we can best bring the love and mercy of God to our guests at Open House. 

Since we have not yet been to Open House we listened more than talking.  We learnt more about how Open House was run before we had our beautiful community centre.  Things have changed over the years but the same principles are there; we want to be a welcoming place for our homeless guests and to feed them both physically and spiritually.  We are very much looking forward to volunteering at Open House and thankfully now we have met some of the other volunteers it won't be as difficult the first time.  We finished the day together with Mass.

Ambrose enjoying all the attention!

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