Community for Spiritual Formation

Through a programme of teaching, silence, worship and reflection based on a Benedictine monastic pattern,

the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation 

aims to

  • root spirituality in Christian faith and tradition
  • provide opportunity for participation in community life
  • form people for life in a changing world

Check the posts below for more information about this year’s event which takes place in LEEDS 13th – 18th May 2018

Five-Day Community Opportunities

The Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation is a rare opportunity to participate in a small, short-term community experience with excellent teaching.

Two Community events are currently available:

Booking has just opened for DIVINE INTIMACY, ORDINARY HOLINESS  14th-19th June 2020 – in the beautiful setting of Drumalis Conference and Retreat Centre, Larne, Northern Ireland. Presentations from Gemma Simmonds and Brian Thorne.

For more information download the flier and the registration form below.

Community e-flier Drumalis 2020

Community 4 Registration Form

Or email fivedaycsf@btinternet.com

A few places remain for DIVINE DARKNESS, DIVINE LIGHT at Cliff College, Derbyshire.  24th – 29th November 2019. Presentations from Cathy Bird and Steve Radley.

For more information download the flier and the registration form below.

CSF Flier Cliff November 2019 (Email)

Community 3 Registration Form

Divine Darkness, Divine Light

Just before Advent begins later this year, the next ‘Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation’ event will take place at Cliff College, Derbyshire from Sunday 24th – Friday 29th November 2019.

The theme will be highly appropriate for that season, as we look at both darkness and light; how they interplay and how both can reveal more of God to us.

The retreat will follow a Benedictine style rhythm incorporating times of silence amongst the worship, teaching, listening and eating, as we live together in this short-term community.


The two speakers for ‘Divine Darkness, Divine Light’ will be:

  • Rev. Cathy Bird, Methodist minister in London and author of The Divine Heart of Darkness
  • Rev. Steve Radley, Anglican priest in Cambridgeshire and photographer. Find out more at his website.

For more information, download the flier here: CSF Flier Cliff November 2019 (Email) and the registration form here: Community 3 Registration Form

or email the Registrar, Jill Baker fivedaycsf@btinternet.com

Places are limited, so don’t delay!

Information about possible bursary funding is available here.

Community in a Fragmented World

Our 2nd UK “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” met from 13th-18th May at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, under the theme “Community in a Fragmented World”.  Several photos of the community members can be found below.

Our two presenters, Rev. Dr. Roger Walton and Dean Elaine Heath both gave us a great deal to think about, reflect on and absorb; amidst the community pattern of worship, silence and listening.

Watch this space for more information about future plans.


Community in a fragmented world

Community in a fragmented world

Wherever I go at the moment I find people talking about community… about the need to build, or re-build community spirit, about the need for church to offer community to people who feel isolated, for the world to develop a sense of global community…

One of the best experiences I had last year was to be part of the “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” which took place in Northern Ireland.  Around 35 folk gathered for a 5-day happening, based on a Benedictine rhythm – with teaching, worship, listening circles and silence.  It was so good that the small leadership team, of which I am a member, have decided to offer it again this year – with different speakers and a different theme.

Picking up this cry for community, our theme will be Community in a fragmented world and the event (part retreat, part conference, part simply, as the name says, community) will be at Hinsley Hall, Leeds from Sunday 13th to Friday 18th May 2018.

We are delighted that our two presenters are both well-known, well-respected and much-loved teachers in their fields, and that both are currently exploring themselves what community is, how it can be created and how it can be missional.  They are Elaine Heath, Dean of Duke Divinity School, North Carolina and an elder in the United Methodist Church and Roger Walton, Ex-President of the Methodist Conference, Britain, and chair of the Yorkshire West District.  Both have written and published extensively and are renowned as excellent teachers and facilitators.  We feel honoured to have them both.

077016_heath030Roger Walton

Registration is now open for this event; you can find out more by downloading the flier here and the registration pack here or by emailing fivedaycsf@btinternet.com

Please note that bursaries or grants towards this kind of Spiritual Formation experience are often available.  Suggestions about accessing such funding can be found here.

Jill Baker, Vice-President, Methodist Conference 2017-18

Five-Day Community 2018

Following a wonderful week for the first-ever Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation to be held in Britain and Ireland in May this year, the team are delighted to be able to announce details of the next Community happening – in May 2018.

The dates: Sunday 13th May (evening) – Friday 18th May (lunchtime)

The venue: Hinsley Hall, Headingley Lane, Leeds

The theme: Community in a fragmented world

The presenters: Dean Elaine Heath, Duke Divinity School, North Carolina and Rev. Dr. Roger Walton, Ex-President of Methodist Conference and Chair Yorkshire West district

The flier with much more detail can be downloaded here.

The registration pack can be downloaded here.

Questions or comments can be emailed to fivedaycsf@btinternet.com


Save the date!

Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation – Save the date!!

Publicity will shortly be circulated for the

2018 “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation”

so, for a transformative experience do “save the date”!

 Date: Sunday 13th – Friday 18th May 2018

Venue: Hinsley Hall, Leeds

Speakers: Elaine Heath and Rev Dr. Roger Walton

Theme: Community in a Fragmented World

Price: £675* – the same as 2017.

*Payment by instalments will be available.

You can also find some suggestions re availability of grant/bursary funding for places by clicking on: Five-Day CSF finance

If you would like to receive more information and a registration pack when available, please email: fivedaycsf@btinternet.com

Ireland calls…

This morning I booked my ferry crossing to Larne for the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation which takes place there from 28th May – 2nd June this year.  I am excited about the event, the first of its kind in the UK, having attended a similar gathering in Atlanta USA two years ago.

It is hard to describe the experience – something between a retreat and a conference, with excellent teaching (in this case from Pádraig Ó Tuama and Amy Oden) but also plenty of time and space to reflect on the teaching, and generally on our walk with God.  “Formation” is a word much-used at present and always makes me think of how God “formed” Adam from dust; God is still at work shaping us – so it will be good to have some space to allow that to happen.

Blue skies all year round…

The following are individual testimonies from some of the others in the team, after their first experience of this “Community” experience.  Do read on, and if you are interested in attending this year, please contact me as soon possible – we do still have places remaining – or download the Community flier Drumalis or drumalis-registration-pack directly.  Both documents give more detail about the programme, but please email me at the link above if you have any other questions or comments.

Jill Baker

‘In the eighteen+ months since my first experience of the “Academy for Spiritual Formation” I find that it is still influencing my Christian discipleship.  The practice of silence and of using silence to reflect on teaching, on the Word, on worship and on the world around has enriched my own walk with God as well as (I hope) filtering through my preaching and leading of worship and my engagement with others, both inside and outside the church.’

‘The pattern of silence and reflection and the use of listening groups have all impacted me in ways that have transformed my interior life and in the practice of ministry. The themes of the academy have also had a profound impact in helping me think more deeply about following Christ and what it means to live a good life.’

‘The rhythm and authenticity of the Academy/Community/Five-Day have been life-giving to me – and I return to them whenever I feel overwhelmed by the demands of superintendent ministry and need to re-connect with God.’ 

‘The structure, teaching and silence on the Five Day Community contributed immensely to my continued Spiritual Formation. I came away both refreshed and renewed, which has stayed with me in my own personal life and in my professional work as a Spiritual companion.’