Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Guided Holiday Retreat Hosted by Church of the Ascension, Lake Como, Italy, Oct. 7-12

“Peaks, shallows and deeps” Lakeside reflections on Christian Discipleship today

A guided holiday retreat hosted by the Church of the Ascension, Cadenabbia, Lake Como, Italy

7-12th October, 2018

Church of the Ascension

This lakeside church serves a large community of summer visitors and a small community of full-time residents and holiday home-owners. Although part of the Church of England, those who attend are from all over the world and the priest, the Revd Roger Williams, is from Australia.

Why are we hosting a retreat?

Lake Como is a beautiful setting and we wanted to share with visitors some of its hidden gems, which have inspired pilgrimage and reflection for centuries. Our recent 125th anniversary prompted us to look to the future and the need to both raise money to conserve the building and to build our own community.  We hope this retreat will provide visitors and church members alike a chance to slow down and reflect about our lives in these very special surroundings.

Retreat theme – what can you expect?

How can we refresh our discipleship and be willing to move forward on our journey of faith? How can we cope with changes in ourselves,  our circumstances, the church and the world? In what ways can we let God breathe new life into us when our spirituality feels tired or stuck, especially as we get older?  These are some of the questions we hope to address in this holiday retreat through daily worship, bible study on events in Jesus’ own lakeside ministry, spiritual exercises and resources, discussion groups, times of meditation and reflection, visits to sacred places, as well as through relaxation and companionship, enjoying the inspiring panoramas of Lake Como itself.

Retreat conductor, the Revd Lyn Philips

Lyn is a retired Church of England priest originally from Cardiff, where he was ordained in 1971 after training at Cuddesdon College, Oxford.  He served in parishes in the Welsh Valleys, Cardiff and Wolverhampton as well as in Hampstead and Twickenham in London. Fifteen years of his ministry was spent as a full-time hospital chaplain and hospice chaplain. And some of his happiest years were spent as chaplain in Milan in the early 1990s, when he learnt to love all things Italian! Although retired, he helps out in the parish church of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, where he now lives, and is a trained spiritual director offering individual accompaniment as well as quiet days and retreats.

Yoga: there will also be optional yoga sessions with a qualified teacher, Mina Weight.


A number of rooms with half-board, have been reserved at Villa Collina, Cadenabbia, where we will also have the welcome dinner and some sessions. If you have local friends or wish to make your own arrangements, you may join as a day visitor. However the final night of the retreat will be spent at Piona Abbey, a Cistercian Monastery.

Draft Programme

Day 1 (Sunday):

Welcome tea at Church of the Ascension (4.30) followed by opening worship and first address.  First session either at church or Villa Collina, followed by a welcome dinner at Villa Collina

Day 2 (Monday):

Morning worship and second address at church (9.30-10.00), followed by 2nd session at Villa Collina. After lunch at Villa Collina, a free afternoon. Community members will lead a choice of walks: around Cadenabbia and up to the chapel of San Martino or along the Greenway to the Casa dei Presepi, a wonderful collection of animated nativity scenes.

Day 3 (Tuesday):

Travel by public transport to Lenno for the weekly market and meet late morning to take a water taxi to Isola Comacina , the only island on the lake and for a time a vital refuge. There are the remains of a series of churches from the 3rd, 5th 9th and 11th and 12th centuries. After lunch the third session and worship will take place either outdoors or in the 18th century chapel and will include an opportunity to tour the island. Return by boat to Cadenabbia.

Day 4 (Wednesday):

Morning at leisure. Travel to Lenno for lunch at the home of a parishioner, followed by the 4th session and worship.  This will be followed by a walking to the Abbazia dell’Aquafredda, followed by the steep pilgrimage way to the sanctuary of Madonna del Soccorso, a World Heritage Site comprising a series of 17th century chapels depicting the early life and passion of Christ.  Refreshments at the top before walking back down to Lenno and transport back to Cadenabbia.

Day 5 (Thursday):

Checkout of accommodation (suitcases can be left) and travel by boat to Piona abbey for overnight stay.  Lunch, worship and final session at Piona Abbey, a working Cistercian monastery.  Evening meal in the monastery or at a local guesthouse.

Day 6 (Friday): Departure

Breakfast and travel by boat to Cadenabbia for closing worship at the Church of the Ascension.


Cost and what is covered (Minor alterations to the programme may occur)

The retreat can be booked:

  1. As a complete package including accommodation (dinner, bed and breakfast at Villa Collina with one night at Piona) as well as programme excursions, simple lunches and sessions and materials, or
  2. As a day visitor (excursions, lunches and sessions/materials as well as the overnight visit to Piona abbey with meals there) for those who live or have friends on the lake.

Please note: Depending on the availability of single rooms at La Collina, there may be an upcharge for single occupancy.

Complete package:  695 Euros (Deposit 250 euros)

Day Visitor:                 395 Euros (Deposit 150 Euros)

Please ensure that you are covered by normal travel insurance.


How to book

  1. e-mail Jeannie Willan ( stating how many places you are booking, whether you want shared accommodation or single occupancy at Villa Collina, or whether you are registering as a day visitor. If the latter please state where you will be staying.  She will provide further instructions about how to transfer the payment of deposits..
  2. if you wish to make this part of a longer holiday on Lake Como and would like suggestions, we will do our best to assist.
  3. Please give your name, postal address, phone number, any special dietary requirements and/or mobility limitations.
  4. A booking confirmation will be sent. Full payment of the balance is due by July 31st, 2017.


Leave a Reply

You may use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2019 – 2023 The Episcopal Church in Vermont.