Paul – who is a great volunteer – worked with us for 3 weeks in the summer
The Abbey at Sutton Courtenay is a very special place that offers a rare and valuable space for spiritual reflection and practice to its guests. The community is warm, welcoming and respectful, offering both the time and space to cultivate a spiritual life and routine in the way each person understands it and opportunities to share satisfying work maintaining the buildings, guesthouse and grounds or cultivating the impressive produce of the walled gardens. I quickly felt at home and appreciated the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives I encountered in so many good conversations around the dinner table and over jobs shared with community members and other guests. The quality of care given to food and other aspects of daily interaction between people in the community and their guests spoke of a very sincere spiritual life being lived amid the busy demands of running a retreat centre and maintaining the land. There is a wealth of knowledge about horticulture, gardening, cooking, art, spirituality, literature and all manner of other subjects open to volunteers who take an interest. Apart from the many interesting people you encounter there, the beauty and peace offered by the ancient buildings, the wonderful library and the surrounding woods and gardens also contribute vitally to the nourishing atmosphere of calm and reflection, both in quiet periods and during large conferences or retreats.
Volunteering at the Abbey gave me the time and autonomy to reconnect with my own spiritual practice within an enjoyable daily schedule and in the company of sincere and genuine hosts.
I heartily recommend it!