END OF YEAR SILENT RETREAT
with Genna Ulrich and Tom Antonik
December 28, 2023 to January 1, 2024
(Thursday to Monday)
Is this Silent Retreat for Me?
Extended silence in community can enable:
– spaciousness, a set-aside time for spiritual practices
– simplicity, with minimal daily responsibilities and distractions
– a detox from busyness and urgency
– deepening worship receptivity
– spiritual transformation
– the support of sharing in this practice alongside others
Consider this four-night opportunity at a retreat center set upon a gorgeous hill in Western Massachusetts, with surrounding woods, a quiet Meetinghouse, and shared meals together. Do you feel a nudge and rightness in your body, a hunger in your soul? Do you feel drawn to this opportunity?
Silence is NOT the Point
We feel led to plan an almost entirely silent retreat, but oddly, silence is not the point. Since awakening to the Presence of God (Spirit, Inner Teacher, Light) is the point, we recognize we cannot know what plans or inspiration God might offer us during the long weekend.
You can expect:
– Thursday evening arrival, dinner and orientation.
– All meals provided, eaten together in silence.
– A common space for art, journaling, reading—alongside others.
– Common art supplies, devotional literature, reflection prompts.
– Woods to walk in.
– Sunday morning expectant waiting worship.
– A Bonfire – New Year’s Eve (Sunday evening).
– Monday morning gathering for closing, lunch and departure.
– Other invitations, as the Spirit moves.
Genna Ulrich, Facilitator – Portland Friends Meeting, Portland ME. Genna (they/them) feels their task as facilitator means holding the spiritual container for our gathering. At its core, this means listening and praying in the weeks ahead and during the retreat for guidance from Spirit about how to lead the weekend. Genna has felt an increasing, sustained call to ministry, mainly to service within their monthly meeting community. They also work part-time as a welder, and they love creative pursuits and time in beautiful places.
Tom Antonik, Elder – Portland Friends Meeting, Portland, ME. Tom (he/him) holds a long and deep appreciation for Woolman Hill and is grateful to have been a participant in many of its offerings and programs, including, as well as facilitating, past Year End Silence/Stillness retreats. He is also struggling to compose this bio, attempting to evade the task of speaking of himself by saying that “Silence is often so much more eloquent than words.” In his ineloquence of the all too often necessary use of word, he will also share that along with Quaker practices, he draws heavily on Buddhist practices and teachings.
REGISTRATION AND LOGISTICS
See below for more information about registration, cost, meals, accommodations, and other logistics. Or you can proceed directly to REGISTER HERE.
COST & REGISTRATION
The standard rate for this retreat is $425, with a sliding scale of $275-525. The fee includes program, lodging and food from Thursday dinner through Monday lunch. Commuter rate is $275. We are committed to financial accessibility: please pay what fits in your personal budget, encourage your faith community to financially support your participation if that is appropriate, and let us know if you need additional scholarship funds. A non-refundable deposit of $50 is required to hold a space for a program. If you need to cancel, the deposit can be applied to a future workshop within 18 months. The balance is due at the beginning of the workshop.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Plan to arrive after 4:00pm Thursday afternoon, in time for dinner at 6:00. The workshop will end by 2pm on Monday. We are centrally located in western Massachusetts, close to both I-91 and Route 2. For those arriving by car, we will send directions prior to the event. Please let us know if you’d be interested in car-pooling. The nearest Amtrak train station is in Greenfield (MA), ten minutes’ drive away. Vermont Transit and Peter Pan bus lines also stop in Greenfield. Please contact us in advance to see if we can arrange a ride from these stations.
ROOM & BOARD
Our 19th-century farmhouse has hand-hewn beams and wide pine floors, with simple lodging (typically double occupancy) with shared bathrooms. The meetinghouse and the first floor of the main building are wheelchair accessible. Our rustic cabins have electricity, woodstoves and outhouses. We serve nourishing, home-cooked meals and always offer vegetarian options. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. Part of the community building at each retreat includes the joyful sharing of meal chores and final clean-up.
WHAT TO BRING
Please bring your own toiletries, towels, and bedding (sleeping bag or sheets and blankets or comforter). Pillows are provided. Be sure to bring seasonally appropriate clothes and comfortable indoor and outdoor footwear. You might also like to bring a flashlight, journal, art supplies, a book…
Please do NOT bring pets or candles.
We have limited internet access and cell phone reception. We encourage guests to consider how cell phone or computer use may detract from their experience of being fully present, here and now.
We look forward to welcoming you to the hill!