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.’

Living lightly…


Now that 2017 is under way, the countdown has begun to “Living lightly in today’s world” the first UK-based Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation.  It is going to be an exciting event.

We have two world-class presenters,

  • the Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama (have a look at his stirring website “In the Shelter“) and
  • American theology lecturer Amy Oden (read more about Amy here).

In a world of excess, the theme can speak to us on so many levels, which will be explored daily in an hour’s teaching from both Pádraig and Amy.  The remainder of each day will provide times of silence, of worship, of small group sharing of excellent meals, and of space and time to explore the beautiful grounds of Drumalis soaking up the presence and love of God.

Don’t miss out – some places still remain for this special week of teaching/retreat/community.  Download the Community flier Drumalis for more information, or email the registrar, Jill.  (Please note there may be some delay in response between 27th January and 11th February, but all messages will be answered as soon as possible).

A place of welcome

I have just been browsing the website for Drumalis – the wonderful retreat centre in Northern Ireland where the first UK-based Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation will take place in May-June next year.

I discovered (at this page) a little PowerPoint presentation of the Drumalis Vision Statement; do have a look and see the excellent and beautiful facilities on offer.

To find out more you can email me for the registration pack, or download it at this link:  drumalis-registration-pack.

Jill Baker

Need some space?

Whatever we may think about Sundays and how they should be used in 21st Century Britain, the rhythm of “Sabbath Rest” is a good one – a regular space to stop worrying about productivity and output and to attend to the inner self and to God.

Blue skies all year round…

As I settle back down to the laptop today after a few days away I realise how thankful I am for quiet places and for spaces in the diary.

If you are in need of space the “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” may be exactly what you are looking for.  Drumalis in Northern Ireland is a beautiful and comfortable retreat house where all our needs will be kindly catered for as we share in community through teaching, silence, prayer and worship (as well as wonderful food!)  Discover more about it by browsing this little blog-site or email me for more details.

Don’t delay – bookings are now coming in most days, and there are only 50 spaces in total!

Jill Baker

The theology of story

Pádraig-Ó-TuamaOne of the two main contributors to the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation which will take place in Northern Ireland in May/June next year is Pádraig Ó Tuama.  If you have been at Greenbelt this year you may have encountered Pádraig, or heard an extract from his presentation on the Radio 4 Daily Service this morning in which he talks of the power of compassion and reconciliation.  You can listen again to the 15 minute act of worship here. Born in Cork, having travelled widely before settling in Belfast in 2003 and now as leader of the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, Pádraig is well equipped to speak of the power of reconciliation.

I first encountered the work of Pádraig when I was asked to review his book, In the shelter, for the Methodist Recorder last year. The book is very much a story book, for Pádraig uses stories all the time to help us see the world around us, other people, and ourselves. I found it a powerful, moving and inspiring read (See In the shelter for the full review.)

We feel greatly honoured that Pádraig has agreed to be a speaker at the Five-Day community – the chance to sit for five consecutive days under his gentle, honest style and stirring, transformational stories does not often occur!  So, do think about coming along.  You can download the flier here or email me for a registration form at

Jill Baker – 30th August 2016.



Living lightly

Summer (which we have been promised is about to happen!) is often a time for reflection, retreat, holiday and a break from routines.  We may feel a yearning to de-clutter, to clear out, to sit more lightly to all the “stuff” around.

Something of this spirit lies is behind “Living lightly in today’s world” which is the theme for the first UK “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” which will take place in May-June next year.  You can find out more about it by downloading the flier here.

Light and glory

The Community will be held at Drumalis, a wonderful, comfortable retreat centre on the coast of Northern Ireland.  You can see more photos and read more about it elsewhere on this blogsite.

Three of the team, Sheryl, Nicola and I, met on Thursday to begin to explore the worship which will form the backbone of the five days of the community, and we all came away excited by this new venture.

Registration is now open – email me for a registration form at

Jill Baker – registrar

Registration opens!

Today (8th June) is a big day for the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation – registration for our first UK event opens… so don’t delay… there are only 50 places available!

The Community will take place at Drumalis Retreat Centre in Northern Ireland from 28th May – 2nd June 2017.

Read more by downloading the publicity flier

The registration form can be requested by emailing Jill Baker

Community flier Drumalis