New team plans to build up Quiet Waters Retreat House
A diverse team of six people, who describe themselves as having left the rat race to live at Quiet Waters Christian Retreat House on the Norfolk border, are eager to use their different skills to bless guests with home grown food and spiritual refreshment.
Quiet Waters is a huge Georgian house set in two acres of gardens with the river Waveney as one of its boundaries. The new team at the Christian Retreat House, on the edge of Bungay, includes a farmer, a teacher and an estate agent.
Andy Jackman, the estate agent, describes the men as an ‘unlikely trio’ but together with their wives they are enjoying a fresh adventure demonstrating God’s love to His people. He said: “The six of us live at Quiet Waters and provide three full meals a day for guests if required. It’s a feel good story about everyday people who have left the rat-race to seek something better, more fulfilling, more rewarding.”
Mike Schippers, the farmer in the group, said: "Whether it's our professions, nationalities or interests we're about as diverse a bunch as you can find. I was a tobacco farmer from Zimbabwe, Jon was a school teacher from Shrewsbury and Andy ran a Cambridge estate agency. But we all share a love for Jesus and feel privileged to live and work at Quiet Waters. They say opposites attract and it must be true as we really do all get on, each of us bringing different skills and gifts to enable the smooth running of the house."
Andy said: “Our plans are now to build. For much of last year there was just one couple managing the house and there is simply too much for one couple to do. Now there are six of us we all have specific areas of responsibility and are able to work on aspects of the job - house upkeep, gardening, kitchen garden - that have been neglected.
“So this year is very much a back to basics year, finding our feet and continuing to look after individual guests and church groups. They love the house and gardens, appreciate the fresh local produce used in the meals, some of it now coming from our own garden, and most importantly find the necessary atmosphere to draw closer to God. Our biggest thrill is seeing guests glowing when they leave, having had a personal experience with the Lord.”
“We have space for up to sixteen guests and provide a place of quiet and peace...somewhere to spend time with God. Guests come to stay because they need spiritual rest or perhaps they form part of a leadership group and need space and tranquillity to find God's vision for them. Either way they're warmly welcomed and attentively cared for during their stay at Quiet Waters.”
Jon Griffiths, the teacher, is a talented guitarist and often leads the worship at Quiet Waters. He and his wife Vanessa joined the Quiet Waters team earlier this year. He said: "We were heavily involved in our local Church but felt the calling for something new, a fresh challenge.
"We've only been here a few weeks but this is home to us now and we love it here. Getting to know the other team members, the tremendous variety of our work here and the beautiful setting are awesome, although the resident family of moles are proving to be a somewhat stubborn challenge!"
Photo (L-R): Vanessa and Jon Griffiths, Liz and Mike Schippers, Debbie and Andy Jackman