This is a place for the weary and the lost. Those who have come to the end of themselves and their faith in their struggles, and found that the last thread they are hanging on by is loose. This is a place to stop. To be. To recover, yes, but almost accidentally, for the point here is to simply sit in pasture and feed on the green, to stand with feet in the coolness of streams of Spirit and water. To encounter beauty and art, and God within them. This is a space for the broken and the utterly bereft, the battle-weary pilgrims who have nowhere else to turn. This is where God the hen gathers us all under downy wings, and where his mighty palm rests holding a pool of our tears as deeply, all-knowingly precious.
Here we may sit, lie down, nestle, walk, cry, soften, bless, pray, meet, worship, create and give in to the stillness and the space. Or we may do absolutely nothing. This is a quiet place for the hurting. There is not one ounce of pressure.
There are no talking therapies here, that is for another place and time. This is a sanctuary where silent adoration will lead us to restoration. This is about the softness of evening light breathing through an arched window. The hand resting on the horse’s velvet nose, feeling the warmth of life. The time to hear the colours that sing in the rose garden. The space to feel the sensuousness of pliable clay, turning slowly in the pottery, to be aware of the shuffle of artisans thinking and working, the swish of a painted wing. The background noise of a fountain. The dappling lines of light on the lake, reflecting time, allowing us to pause.
This is sanctuary.
Now, if we wanted to impress you, we might say the vision for this ministry came with a thunderclap and wibbly wobbly swirly visual effects, but it did not. It came in a prayer session to Keren a couple of years ago, whilst she was sat up in bed, listening. It came as a floor plan as much as anything, and all of it looked very detailed.
The main building of the Sanctuary will consist of a central church, The Church of the Sanctuary, and this will have a Lady Chapel, and we hope, stained glass windows. A theme will be the elements of fire, air, water and earth. As you enter the building there will be a reception area to your left, and a gift and bookshop to your right. Beyond this there will be a large foyer with a fountain in the middle of it, and this will have prayer rooms off to either side, and the main church at the top. To the left will be the main hermitage and family guest living quarters, and to the right, an art gallery, dining room and kitchens, library and large lounge. Further to the right, some guest accommodation, and at several points, entry to the grounds, in which there are guest chalets, paths to alms bungalows, and to the lake.
In Keren’s vision, (which you can see has been given a lot of detail!) there was also an art studio, a wood shop and possibly a forge, all far enough from the main building as to not be a disturbance to the quiet, and a stables and animal sanctuary. The stables are not for riding, but for hurting people to just be with the horses. They are not to be beasts of burden or sport here, but simply beauty that heals.
Throughout the grounds there are works of art, sculptures (some of which will be interactive, having negative space into which visitors can place themselves), and beautiful gardens. A rose garden is placed beyond the dining room, so that the guests look out on it at mealtimes, and Heart Church stands over to the very left of the grounds, along a long pathway. There are golf carts and disabled scooters with power points dotted around so that everywhere is accessible, and the chalets are all disabled friendly and have a scooter port where mobility aids can be kept under cover and charged. Everything is centred around encounter with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Beauty, joy, art, nature and prayer are our ways into that relationship. We also see several poustinias and hermitages available for those who want to use them.
No talking cures are offered here, though we do hope to offer prayer ministry. But we believe very strongly that nature, quiet, beauty, prayer and traditional worship will be healing to many.