About the Affiliate Scheme
The Quiet Garden Affiliate Scheme is for those that have a garden they would like to open to the public as a quiet space, as well as for individuals who lead and organise retreats and quiet days in the outdoors.
Affiliate gardens are usually within private homes, churches and retreat centres. The hosts, or host organisation, will offer primarily an outdoor space for contemplation and reflection. The host may organise events in their garden space and host retreat days, and as an affiliated garden you will be part of a worldwide network of gardens promoted on our website.
Affiliate individuals organise and lead retreats and quiet days for people primarily in the outdoors, but not necessarily in the same place each time. You may have access to a garden, a nature reserve or other outdoor space for your led events focussed on contemplation and reflection, but they may be different locations and are not necessarily designated ‘quiet gardens’. As an affiliated individual you will be part of a worldwide network of like minded people, with your events and services promoted on our website, and you may choose to work with other affiliated Quiet Gardens as venues for your retreats and events.
Affiliate individuals and hosts will self-identify as Christian and are likely to be part of a church community for support.
Affiliate Quiet Garden hosts will usually provide simple provision of hospitality and prayer drawing on the spiritual resources of the Christian tradition.
Quiet Gardens vary greatly in size and design. They can be large or small, manicured or wild. The key feature is that the space is set aside, even just for a few hours, for quiet reflection.
The outdoor space will act as both a context and focus; in which to share the inner search for wholeness, natural beauty and silence, and in which ancient Christian wisdom and the contemplative tradition can be explored.
A private home may offer Quiet Garden space by appointment, or at set regular times with or without teaching or ‘input’. Churches may consider how they can make best use of the space around their building, developing the grounds with vision and imagination to become an attractive space available to the local community, for led quiet days, or individual reflection. Retreat centres, who welcome guests for residential stays, may also make Quiet Garden space available for local people or for events and teaching around the values and theme of Quiet Gardens.
It will be the host’s responsibility, together with the supporting team, to value and validate ‘stillness’ and ‘awareness’ in their Quiet Garden. The outdoor space is primarily not a space for talking but for being. For some visitors it may be their first experience of silence so they may need some encouragement and help in knowing how to quieten and become inwardly still.
To help people feel welcome and comfortable, a Quiet Garden usually has some shelter and access to toilet facilities, as well as the possibility for visitors to receive simple refreshments.
A supportive team
At the heart of every Quiet Garden we suggest there is a small group of people who will support the host, practically and with prayer. They may help design the format and programme for that particular Quiet Garden.
This small group will be made up of people who understand what the Quiet Garden is about, and pray for the work of the Quiet Garden. They can also welcome visitors, make the coffee, and set the tone of what is offered in that Quiet Garden. Visitors may bring their own needs and emotions so someone from the host team may be available for support and to listen should the need arise.
When affiliating to The Quiet Garden Movement, as host and members of the supporting group, we ask you to agree to the following statement of intent:
– Inspired by the dynamic theology of the Trinity we are committed to weaving the creative, caring and contemplative threads of the Christian Gospel into the fabric of everyday life. We offer a ministry of welcome, and a space for quiet reflective prayer in a nurturing context.
– We are committed to the continuing development of our own spiritual journey, particularly exploring more deeply the riches of silence, contemplative prayer and retreat.
– We agree to the suggested annual affiliation donation (currently £40 / €60 / $100 – or similar) to the Quiet Garden Trust, to help cover the costs of running the Movement, and we note that, where applicable, the Trust asks that any surplus funds from Quiet Garden days (after deducting expenses) are donated to the Trust to help cover the costs of running the Movement worldwide.
– Our Quiet Garden will be financially and organisationally independent.
– We understand that affiliation is at the discretion of The Quiet Garden Trust, whose Trustees have the right to withdraw it at any time. The Trustees’ decision would be final.
Examples of Quiet Gardens
Examples of Affiliate spaces
“Quiet Gardens vary greatly in size and design. They can be large or small, manicured or wild.”