The unofficial theme of 2021 at Rolling Ridge has been “Transition”. The prior year brought worldwide upheaval— stalling and quieting the normal flow of activity, even here on 120 forested acres tucked between the Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah River. Two families in the residential community moved away, leaving relational and organizational vacancies that we’ve all felt keenly. Amidst such big changes, the RRSR board and a temporary transition committee helped Rolling Ridge move into its next phase. Looking back with fondness and looking ahead with hope, “we shake with joy, we shake with grief”, as Mary Oliver once wrote. “What a time they have, these two housed as they are in the same body.”
As we settle into the current iteration of life and ministry at Study Retreat, new dreams are unfolding that bring fresh energy to our ongoing call to provide a safe place for people and communities to nurture emerging possibilities for the wellbeing of the world. It is a time of reimagining how Rolling Ridge can become an increasingly welcoming, inclusive space for people of all ethnicities and orientations. Your generous donations will help keep RRSR active, inviting, and hospitable. Funds will be used to maintain buildings, roads, and meeting spaces. Portions of the donations will also be used to keep the costs of programming affordable for all those who want to come on retreat. We hope you will join us in contributing what you can, to support Rolling Ridge, poised as ever on the threshold of community, nature, and soul.
Even in a time of transformation, many facets of life here remain much as they have since an adventurous group of friends began to lease this corner of the world from Henry and Mary Cushing Niles more than 30 years ago: The forest still calls to each of us and draws us back to her quiet trails. Our board members, residential community, and friends still volunteer time, energy, and ideas to continue the work of the organization. The Meditation Shelter sits ever-ready to welcome our songs and prayers. We still mow the grass, and we still look for migrating birds at the turn of the seasons. Thank you to each of you who have been a part of our ongoing story; we are very grateful.
Should you choose to support the ongoing story of Rolling Ridge financially please know that your tax-deductible donation is very much appreciated: Donate Here
Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, our friends and extended communities have begun return to Rolling Ridge in person! Members from each of the 11 partner groups came out for their weekends, and for the first half of 2021, we invited individuals or pods from Partner Groups to use the RH free of charge so that they could continue coming on retreat in ways that felt safe. Like the year before, there was a noticeable uptake in individuals and families renting facilities here for personal retreats. We were also able to hold two vibrant, fun, and socially-distanced volunteer workdays.
Of course, the year at Rolling Ridge included the everyday decisions and repairs that keep Study Retreat hospitable and operational. This year each retreat space and home has had a fire safety inspection and all fire extinguishers have been replaced. There is a new couch at the Retreat House, and also a new energy-efficient air conditioner. In preparation for camping and Cordwood visitors over the summer, the composting toilets near the Meditation Shelter were spruced up & refreshed and the Art Cottage was cleaned & restocked, too.
We enjoyed hosting several outdoor events in 2021, which have been beautiful echoes of the retreats we long to bring back to these spaces when the time is right: