• Borrowed silence: A history of the practice of retreat in the Church of England

      Parker, Stephen; Greggs, Tom; Morris, Wayne; Tyers, John H. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012)
      This thesis, which is the first attempt to write about the growth of retreats, deals with a rather sidelined but important development in the history of spirituality. It states when, how and why the practice of retreat was adopted and adapted in the Church of England after having been a devotion in the Church of Rome since the time of the Catholic Reformation and how it has developed since. It is divided chronologically into three major sections. The first tells the story of its adoption in 1858 by a group of Anglo Catholics in the form of the preached retreat and its subsequent spread to a small number of adherents, despite meeting opposition from Evangelical Christians. The second tells of the influence of a Jesuit brother, Charles Plater, and how after the First World War a number of Diocesan retreat houses were opened, the use of which continued to rise until after the Second World War. The third takes the story up to our present day with its adaptation to the needs of the present search for faith, its decline accompanying the present loss in membership in the churches whilst at the same time its adoption in various forms by non-Anglican groups. In particular it contains a history of the Society of Retreat Conductors. All the time comparison is made with what was happening in the Church of Rome. There are resonances with the history of the Victorian church, the attitude of the established church to the working classes, evangelism, the changing fortunes of Anglo Catholicism, the ecumenical movement and New Age Christianity. It is of interest to all who are concerned about spread of religious faith today.