Formation training has been completed for the Wellington-based Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Team and official approval has been given for the Team to ‘go solo’ by the US programme founders, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.
Read more: RV Team Formation.
The Wellington Team includes Wendy Hill (Retreat Facilitator), Dawn de Witt (Psychologist and Retreat Therapist), Carolina Gnad (Support Counsellor), Fr David Kennerley sm (Spiritual Director) and Suzanne O’Rourke (Site Leader).
It’s important that the Retreat Team know what they are doing. Abortion touches a very delicate part of a person’s psyche and the Retreat Team must undertake a thorough formation process before being approved. Formation is hands-on; it involves prayer and a sense of personal commitment. The emotional and spiritual safety of everyone involved is paramount and so each Retreat Team has well-defined roles, with at least one qualified counsellor, therapist and Spiritual Director.
The Retreat Facilitator is usually the person who has the initial and on-going contact with prospective Retreat participants. They need to have the professional skills and experience to determine if an enquirer is ready for a Retreat and if not, to guide them to an appropriate course of action.
“The Retreat Team includes a balance of qualified counsellors, voluntary supporters and a Catholic Priest. The Retreat Team may include those with a personal experience of abortion, but this is not a barrier to anyone wanting to become involved. The Team formation process is thorough, the Retreat programme is finely tuned and the real work is done by the Holy Spirit,” says Wendy Hill, Retreat Facilitator.