Is the Refreshment Programme for you?

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Who is the Refreshment Programme for?

The Refreshment Programme is for anyone – lay or ordained, in the world of business, in ministry or retired – who will benefit from the setting and resources available to our community.

You do need to be a mature Christian, and Ridley is not the right context for working through major personal issues. However, you will be part of a 'staircase group' that includes students and a tutor. You will have the opportunity to meet with one of our resident experts weekly, and many find a course of guided spiritual direction helpful.

"I have gained a good feel for what is like to be part of a residential college in Cambridge, as well as coming to a better appreciation of what is happening in the Anglican Church."
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Below are some of the typical reasons that our guests take up this opportunity. Choose a heading to read more:

Clergy and lay ministry sabbaticals

Clergy and lay ministry sabbaticals

All Christian ministry, lay and ordained, offers great opportunities and is often deeply rewarding. But it also makes great demands and the pressures can be considerable. Taking your sabbatical at Ridley Hall provides you with time to lay down your responsibilities for a while, enjoy the space of a relaxed setting and find renewal for your ministry.

“The stay at Ridley was encouraging for my ministry and the spiritual life – with chapel services and fellowship groups – helped to deepen my faith. I went home having discovered a new chapter in my life.” Beat Hoffmann, Reformed Church Minister in Switzerland
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Career breaks and work sabbaticals

Career breaks and work sabbaticals

If your employer has given permission for you to take a sabbatical, or you run your own business and feel that you would benefit from time out from the daily pressures and routines, taking your sabbatical from your work at Ridley can renew your energy, sharpen your focus and deepen your faith.

Or perhaps you have just finished a demanding secular job and need a time of rest and refreshment in a positive and vibrant Christian community.

“Time at Ridley gave me the chance to put off the distractions of this life and concentrate on my relationship with my creator.” Roberta Brown, Nurse
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Missionary furloughs

Missionary furloughs

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we read that after their mission the apostles “gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught”. We might have expected him to praise them, and give them encouragement to go back out to bring the Good News to more people. Instead he responds “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while”.

“Everyone was so welcoming and I felt very much part of the Ridley family. It was great getting to know the ordinands and their families, as well as the teaching staff. I was inspired by the different ordinands and their desires to serve God and the Anglican church.” Roberta Brown, Nurse
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Spending all or some of your missionary furlough at Ridley will give you that time to relax, refocus, be inspired by the way that God is forming members of our community for ministry and at the same time you will be a blessing to us. See our Community mission page for an insight into the place of mission within our college.

Pastor retreats and getaways

Pastor retreats and getaways

Perhaps you don’t have a full sabbatical at your disposal, but you are a pastor in need of rest and spiritual refreshment, and a change of scene. Ridley offers you a space for prayer, reflection and the wonderful cultural environment of the City of Cambridge and the University of Cambridge.

"I was not treated as an outsider at all, but rather, welcomed as a brother in Christ and into the family." Robin Ziegenfuss, Pastor, USA
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Although longer stays are typically arranged with us well in advance, you are always welcome to enquire if we have a room available even at short notice.

Study leave for academics and ministers

Study leave for academics and ministers

Although ‘sabbaticals’ and ‘study leave’ are terms used interchangeably, and in reality there is much overlap, study leave tends to have pre-determined and agreed goals for learning or writing projects.

Many of our Refreshment programme guests are on study leave, and take full advantage of the wealth of academic resources in the libraries both at Ridley and in the University of Cambridge. Many also take up the opportunity to receive guidance from a member of our staff who specialises in their area of research interest. See A Setting for Study for more details of resources available.

"The ability to focus on my writing while at Ridley helped immensely in finishing a project which was waited for just such an environment."
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Our Refreshment programme provides you with time to read and write, to catch up with advances in different areas of academic and pastoral theology and to explore new fields.

“I had the opportunity to visit different fresh expressions of churches in and around Cambridge, to follow courses about pioneering and evangelism and to speak to different staff members about different biblical topics.” Beat Hoffman, who spent his time at Ridley discovering more about fresh expressions of church
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As well as the resident expertise of our staff, there may be those with similar interests we could put you in contact with in the Cambridge Theological Federation or in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity.

Christian retreats for individuals

Christian retreats for individuals

The reasons for taking a retreat are many and varied – sometimes time and space is needed to discern the way forward or simply to relax and to encounter God. Perhaps you have just retired and would like to explore a very different kind of Christian experience for a while.

“Spiritually I believe I grew in Christ and also gained a new perspective on the wider Christian community.” Roberta Brown, Nurse
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Instead of pre-programmed events, we provide the opportunity for you to come on your own retreat that fits your needs.

Make use of our facilities, eat with us, connect with our community rhythms of prayer and worship and perhaps simply enjoy the beauty of Cambridge with a punting trip or a visit to experience evensong in King’s College Chapel.

Students walking through the courtyard