£275 – £295

Chancing Connection, Chancing Change - a Circle of Trust® weekend community...

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Unstone Grange

Crow Lane


S18 4AL

United Kingdom

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Chancing Connection, Chancing Change

a Circle of Trust® weekend community retreat for the new year

"There is as much guidance in way that closes behind us as in way that opens up ahead of us. The opening may reveal our potentials while the closing may reveal our limits—two sides to the same coin, the coin called identity... Each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens to us. All we need to do is stop pounding on the door that just closed, turn around ... and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our souls. The door that closed kept us from entering a room, but what now lies before us is the rest of reality."

from 'Let Your Life Speak' - Parker Palmer

What does chance add up to in life? What do we make of our chances? What do they become for us? Chances may come in the form of invitations to adventures new, windows into new experiences, thresholds that cross over into new worlds than mean we have to let go of the old. They carry with them risk, opportunity, caution, excitement, courage, and of course change. Change in turn brings new connections: to people and to projects, but also to a deeper sense of our values and what guides us. Chances shine a light on who we are, what calls us forward in life, and what we are pursuing.

At the opening into the new year, join us for a weekend retreat of woolly jumpers and blazing fires to reflect and contemplate the themes of chances, change and connection in our lives. Working within a ‘Circle of Trust’, the approach to reflection and inner listening developed by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal, we will create space to reflect on the chances we experience in our lives, the promise of the openings and endings that accompany our journey through winter, and our hopes for the coming year...

This community retreat is a low cost event, which we hope will be accessible to many.


Courage & Renewal® retreats foster personal and professional renewal by offering the time and space to:

  • pause, disconnect from technology and be still
  • explore where you are on your journey
  • talk through and honour both struggles and successes
  • witness and be witnessed; listen and be listened to
  • learn new skills for strengthening your capacity to ask open and honest questions, hold tensions, and rejoin soul and role

The process:

Together, we will engage in large and small group conversations, drawing inspiration for these from poetry and writings and stories. We will share silence, solitude and reflective journaling, and hear tales from our own lives and work. Together we follow a shared exploration of the intersections between our inner passion, courage and sense of purpose that give meaning to our life and work in the world. There will also be an opportunity to work in small groups to learn how to engage in clearness dialogues, a practice that can serve us in everyday life. Clearness dialogues involve deep listening and space-holding for others, enabling us to hear our own inner wisdom while also drawing on the wisdom our companions.

Who should participate:

The retreat welcomes people who are seeking opportunities for reflection and renewal as a means of illuminating their own life journey, or enhancing their leadership role in work, organisational or community settings.

This retreat draws on the work of Parker Palmer and the programmes of the U.S.-based Center for Courage & Renewal. This approach to ‘personal formation’ and professional development is founded on the belief that good leadership, in its very widest sense, - the ability to genuinely be of service in our communities and workplaces, - flows from the identity and integrity of the individual. The retreat process invites participants to reclaim wholeness of self and clarity of vocation while making connections between the renewal of one’s spirit and the revitalisation of the communities and workplaces of which we are part.

Dates and times:

Start time:

check-in from 3.30pm, in time for a 5pm start, Friday 3rd January 2020

End of retreat:

after lunch, Sunday 5th January 2020 (lunch ends 2pm and is followed with an optional Q&A session that will end at 3pm)

The retreat is residential for all participants. We begin on Friday evening with check-in available from 3.30 p.m. and the initial gathering at 5:00 p.m. We end on Sunday afternoon after lunch around 2pm, with an optional Q&A session afterwards which will end at 3pm. Participants are asked to arrive in good time so they can settle in before the first session on Friday at 5pm, and to plan to stay for the whole of the retreat.

Our venue:

Set in the beautiful north Derbyshire countryside between Chesterfield and Sheffield, Unstone Grange is a Centre for Personal Creative Growth with 5 acres of grounds and gardens which are looked after according to permaculture principles. Established for over 20 years, the Grange is run by a charitable trust whose aim is to make their venue available to groups of people wishing to explore their lives, take conscious steps forward in their personal development and ultimately feed that growth and development back into their lives and communities.The centre is run by a volunteer staff, and welcomes groups with a wide range of interests, including meditation, bodywork, healing, dance, drama, artwork, music, and others.

Accommodation at Unstone Grange, in keeping with the principles of community on which the centre is founded, is simple but comfortable, in shared rooms with shared facilities. We are able to hold two of the smaller rooms for single occupancy for people with particular health considerations. All meals are vegetarian. The cooks can also accommodate specific dietary requirements. Please contact us if you need to check on your requirements before registering, and there is also space on the registration form for you to confirm your dietary requirements.

It may be obvious, but please remember that our retreat takes place in January and although the Grange has plenty of sources of heating, it is an old house, and warm clothes are needed. Visitors are also expected to take a little responsibility for some of the group 'care-taking', for example by helping lay out breakfast, tending to a couple of open fires as needed, and making and stripping their own beds.

Getting to the venue:

Unstone Grange is just outside the town of Chesterfield in Derbyshire (4 mls from the railway station). Chesterfield is served by a mainline train station that connects Sheffield and London.

For full details of how to get to Unstone Grange, please go to their website:


Arriving early or staying on:

Unfortunately is not possible to stay for extra nights at Unstone Grange, which hosts group bookings only. If you would like to spend more time in the area, a helpful website is:


What to bring:

  • comfortable, warm and seasonally and weather-appropriate clothing (layers are advised)
  • indoor and outdoor shoes
  • toiletries and personal items
  • dressing gown or sweats for comfort and modesty when walking around the shared areas
  • towel (though you can hire one at the venue for £1)


Retreat fee: £275 early bird (up to 16th November 2019); £295 (from 17th November 2019)

The fee includes:

  • simple, comfortable overnight accommodation in shared rooms with shared facilities. We encourage you, in the spirit of this community retreat, to come to room-sharing as part of our community retreat experience, which enables us to price the retreat economically. There are three large group rooms available for relaxation between our sessions, and ample grounds. Rooms will be allocated on arrival unless you indicate in the registration form that you would like to share with a particular person (or persons). Two smaller rooms are available for single occupation for people with health considerations (please email the organiser on beereid@gmail.com to check availability)
  • delicious vegetarian meals during our retreat time (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks). Note that Unstone Grange is also able to cater for specific diets if required; please indicate this on your registration form
  • facilitation by a skilled facilitator prepared by the Center for Courage & Renewal in the U.S. and teaching/learning materials

Please note that full payment of the retreat fee is required on registration. Please contact Barbara if you you need to make some other arrangement.


Payment is required at the point of registration. You may withdraw your registration before 16th November 2019, at which point you will be offered a refund, minus a 25% admin fee. If you cancel your place on the retreat after 16th November 2019, no refund will be offered. In the very unlikely event that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the retreat has to be cancelled by us, we will refund all registration fees paid by participants. Our liability is limited to refunding only the event fees. We recommend therefore that participants have adequate insurance to cover any cancelled travel or personal expenses, and that if travelling a long distance, you delay making your travel plans until after 16th November 2019.


Barbara Reid, PhD is a U.K.-based facilitator of Circles of Trust and belongs to the facilitator colloboration of the Center for Courage & Renewal in the U.S. She worked as a university teacher and researcher in the social and urban policy fields from 1986 - 2007, leading vocational degree programmes and managing social action research projects for public services and third sector organisations. With a long-standing commitment to contemplative, collaborative and reflective practice, Barbara now works in private practice as a supervisor, trainer and retreat facilitator using reflective, contemplative and mindfulness-based approaches. She was a member of the core team at the Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice at Bangor University for 5 years, and has tutored for the Mindfulness Association and the Association pour le Développement de la Mindfulness in France. She works with individuals, groups and organisations in support of professional and personal growth.


Registration is limited to 14 participants. To register, please book via this site, or email Barbara on beereid@gmail.com to request a paper copy of the registration form.

Preparing for the retreat:

If you are unfamiliar – or even if you are familiar with the work of Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, you might like to look at some of Parker Palmer’s books - A Hidden Wholeness”, “The Courage to Teach”, and Let Your Life Speak”. “The Courage Way” by Shelly Francis is also an excellent introduction. Further information about the approach taken in our retreats is available on the Center for Courage & Renewal’s website - www.couragerenewal.org

Our retreat follows the approach developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, and is reflective, contemplative and conversational. Each day will start with optional silent reflection time before breakfast. During the days, personal reflective time will often effectively be quiet time, though at other times we will be in conversation in pairs, small groups, and in the large group. Deep listening and open, honest questioning are also important features of our work together. There will be sessions in the evenings, up until 9-9.30pm.

Additional information:

For queries, please contact us as follows:

m 07970 877092

email beereid@gmail.com


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Unstone Grange

Crow Lane


S18 4AL

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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