Three-day Community for Spiritual Formation

The three-day Community for Spiritual Formation aims to root spirituality in Christian faith and tradition, provide opportunity for participation in community life and form people for life in a changing world.

Spiritual formation

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which adversely affect the usual Cliff College experience, this course has sadly been cancelled. We are planning to launch a number of online short courses before Christmas 2020, and a package of short courses at Cliff in the spring and summer of 2021. Keep an eye on this web page for when this course will be rescheduled, and on both the website and our social media to find out about what we’ll be offering online.

Cliff College is pleased to welcome the Community for Spiritual Formation to lead a three-day reflective retreat. In the programme of teaching, integrated into a community rhythm of silence, worship, reflection, eating, and small group sharing, we will explore the theme ‘aspects of community’. This is an exciting opportunity to join in this growing community and reflect on your own discipleship alongside others in community.

The forming of community centred on Jesus is a major theme of all the Gospels, and over the three days the teaching will focus on aspects of Christian community that stand out in John’s portrayal of the story of Jesus and the nature of discipleship.

Helped to evaluate spiritual life and make changes for good; there has been a breadth and depth of spirituality and theology for me to reflect on over the coming months.

It has provided a thoughtful space for reflection and to explore the discipline of silence.

Opportunity for time with God; I didn’t come for the teaching, but just needed the structure to take my mind away from the day-to-day. As usual, God exceeded my expectations! And I have been challenged and encouraged in equal measure. Again I discover that my God is too small.

It has been a time of awakening and a deepening of my spiritual life. Questioning, stimulating, inner awareness finding the mystery of God in a myriad of places.

The Community for Spiritual Formation has been operating in the British Isles since 2015 when a team of six attended a five-day retreat in Atlanta, Georgia organised by ‘The Academy for Spiritual Formation’. We went with a specific invitation and aim to set up something similar here in Britain and Ireland, and were all immediate converts to the model which combines first-class teaching, silence, worship and space for listening. Since then we have become a small registered charity and have organised four five-day retreats at different venues. This will be the first three-day Community, designed to give people a taste of the rhythm of the Community for Spiritual Formation without demanding the time or financial commitment of a five-day Community.

We are delighted that Rev Dr Roger Walton, who has been a good friend to the Community, will be coming to share three teaching sessions on ‘aspects of community’ rooted in John’s Gospel. The teaching will be followed each time by an hour of individual silence, after which the Community will reconvene to ‘harvest the silence’. The daily rhythm will centre around morning prayer, night prayer and daily holy communion. There will also be two occasions to meet with a small group in a listening circle.

For this new initiative, we are prioritising applications from people who have not previously attended an event organised by the Community for Spiritual Formation so do take this opportunity to ‘taste and see’.

The Community for Spiritual Formation:

  • is glad to be working in partnership for this event with Cliff College;
  • operates as the British expression of The Academy for Spiritual Formation. This is one of the programmes offered by The Upper Room which is charged to be ecumenical and international in scope. It is a subsidiary of Discipleship Ministries, a general agency of the United Methodist Church, USA;
  • is organised by a small board of trustees - Rev Sheryl Anderson, Jill Baker, Rev James Bamber, Kenneth Browne, Andrew Lightowler and Rev Nicola Vidamour.

For more information, visit

The dates for this weekend are yet to be confirmed - please contact the short course administrator for more details.

The cost, in the region of £180.00, includes morning and afternoon refreshments, all meals from Friday evening to Sunday lunch, accommodation in single en-suite rooms and all teaching materials.

A non-refundable deposit of £30.00 secures your place. The balance of fees should be paid before or on arrival.

To register for this retreat, email or call Pete Anderson on 01246 584203.

Bookings to attend this Community are especially welcome from those who have not attended a Community for Spiritual Formation event before. Such bookings will be given priority until 31 July 2020, after which registration will be open to all.

Previous participants who would like to bring a friend for the first time may also book before 31st July; please book together and indicate on your application form with whom you will be coming.