We are a small group of Christian friends who share a passion for growing in our love for God and His Son Jesus Christ and seeing the fruit of the Holy Spirit increasing in our lives. We have all felt God’s leading to be encouraging others in this journey, to be persevering through the dry times and rejoicing in seasons of plenty. We worship and serve together at a non-denominational Christian community church. We firmly believe that Jesus Christ is the only pathway to God and spiritual growth of any kind. Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
While we are very willing to chat and pray with you, we are not trained counsellors or spiritual directors. We are not experienced in dealing with mental illness, chronic disease, addictions or serious depression. There are other Christian organisations in Australia who are more experienced in dealing with these issues who already run regular healing services and retreats.
Richard and Kate Penrose
We are beef cattle farmers and we live and work on our beautiful property (which is named Retreat). The farm is about half an hour from Gunnedah in North Western NSW. We have three children, about 200 cows (plus their calves) and seven chickens! For the past eight years we have been incredibly blessed to share time at Retreat with many Christian brothers and sisters who serve God in full-time ministry either here in Australia or overseas on the mission field. The Retreat Homestead has hosted many families and small groups for holidays, longer missionary stays and small youth camps. We are both actively involved in our local church, in areas of leading, preaching and music ministry. We are keen supporters of overseas Christian workers and various humanitarian organisations and also coordinate the activities of Operation Christmas Child in this region of NSW. Kate studied for a year at Moore Theological College in 1992 and is currently half way through a diploma of counselling.
David and Kerry Wirth
We live in the lovely country town of Gunnedah with our teenage daughter, the last of our three children remaining at home. At present, David works in home care and Kerry is a casual teacher at the local Christian school. We have been involved in many areas of pastoral care and ministry over the last couple of decades, mostly in a volunteer capacity as part of church life. We love to see God at work in His people. We spent three years studying together at SMBC between 2009 and 2011. After returning to Gunnedah, David spent a short time as a church leader in a small rural parish and was also a Generate Chaplain at a village public school in that parish for three years. It is a great privilege to be able to come alongside people and share in their journey with Christ, and we hope that being involved in Retreat Ministries will allow us to do this more often.
I grew up on a farm outside of Gunnedah. For as long as I can remember, Yahweh has been whispering to me through the quiet rhythms of dawn and dusk and the dependence of His creatures. As I’ve travelled in Australia and overseas, Abba has shown me many of His wonders and His great love of diversity. I’ve had the privilege of teaching science and maths in Australia, Wales (UK) and an international Christian school in West Africa. As I’ve explored cultures and reflected on my own, I’ve seen glimpses of heaven as I’ve joined God’s family from many nations and tongues in worshipping Him. Our African brothers and sisters daily face poverty, death and disease, yet their joy and peace in the midst of their sufferings stirred the hunger in me for abundant, joyful life. During my Graduate Diploma at SMBC, I was stretched and given some insights and questions that gave me a deeper love for the Word. Then during my time living in the UK, I had the awesome privilege to discover some of the treasures of the Celtic church. As I attended retreats, read and talked to people, I began to uncover the prayerful, contemplative lifestyle that others had found to deepen their love and delight in Jesus. It is inspired by creation, celebrated in community and solitude, and filled with music, poetry, art, dance… In my own searching and longing, Abba has given me His heart to see the Aussie church rediscover its first love of Him and to truly become one with His people in other nations.