Dear friend of Woolman Hill,
At this particularly lovely time of year on the hill – as the fields come back to life, the birds chatter, and the apple blossoms unfold, Woolman Hill staff and board members are holding in love and light the hill’s wider communities, as well as everyone around the globe impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
We are reaching out to convey our warm wishes to all of you and to express our immense gratitude for the outpouring of love, concern and financial support from so many of you who treasure Woolman Hill and want to ensure its wellbeing. While it’s been sad to have the hill feel so vacant, and we are deeply missing interactions with guests on the hill in person, we have been incredibly moved and buoyed up by your contributions and messages of encouragement.
In keeping with state and local requirements, our facilities have been closed to guests since March 17. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation, and board committees and staff are in active discernment about when and how to best welcome guests back on campus. All four members of our staff (two from their residences on the hill, and two tele-working from their homes nearby) continue to work dedicatedly, with slight shifts of focus due to the change in facility use. We have been working closely with all of the groups who are unable to hold their gatherings as scheduled, and we’re hopeful that many will be able to come to the hill at a later time. We are also working to reschedule or re-imagine programs that could not proceed as planned, and are envisioning new offerings to address the unusual circumstances that are affecting each and every one of us.
This spring, I’m more acutely aware than ever of how the land is an active participant in the programming and experiences of guests at Woolman Hill, how the physical space acts as such a grounding source of healing, solace and rejuvenation. And in this period of stress, fear and grief, in this age of intense media and electronic overload, in the current harried environment, it’s all the more obvious how radical it is to do what is at the core of Woolman Hill’s purpose. What, in fact, has become even more essential than ever before. The essence of retreat: to take soul time; to nurture the Pause, the slowing down; to make space for re-connecting to the Source, for grounding in the Great Fill-in-the-Blank.
I’m holding invitation in my heart. As we move forward with the necessity for greater physical precautions, what alternative program models and ways of being on the land, being in person, will serve the new reality not just for a few months, but in all likelihood for a long time to come? And how, through all of it, do we stay rooted in the critical symbiosis between the Pause, the Retreat, the Be-ing, and the vital, constructive, necessary DO-ing that will serve society in transformative ways? For there is, indeed, an ever expanding need for each of us to show up as fully as we can for transformation at every level of our society.
As things continue to unfold, we’ll keep you updated about opportunities for being on the hill, and we’ll let you know of specific help Woolman Hill may need. This is certainly a difficult time for the hill and for all retreat centers. (Donations are still very much welcome! See below for more information.)
We continue to see this as an opportunity to act out of love, rather than fear; to remember the strength of our connection to the Spirit. And we encourage all of us to find constructive and creative ways to stay connected with one another and to reach out to those with fewer resources.
May we all take time to imagine the beauty, peacefulness and power of being physically at Woolman Hill, and to let that continue to nurture us through this challenging period. We look forward to when people will again be gathering in person, when Woolman Hill will again provide its grounding and inspiring presence to all who come here. That is exactly what Woolman Hill does best.
Our vision is to provide a welcoming sanctuary where people come to be restored and inspired, and leave with the strength to act out of love, sowing seeds of peace that lead to a world transformed.