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Play & Pray

We were delighted to announce the next Play & Pray Retreat day was on 16th September. Using Line conversations and focusing on Moments of Mystery in our lives.

Our 4th retreat in this series will be the Wrapping Up on 9th December. Time to take a breath, take stock, and accept what 2023 brought us, before flying into Christmas and the New Year rush.

Maybe like us- you've found yourself learning a lot in 2023: 

trusting, adjusting to sudden changes, living with 'what is' rather than worrying that things were not as expected.

You might be wanting more spiritual depth & guidance in this 'new normal', more Trust, more Surrender, developing your routines with the creator.

We understand: Bronwyn has just finished a 7 year PhD project, Max is adjusting to this new schedule.

Both of us know the importance of using different processes to listen to the 'still small voice', so through contemplation we can move into healthy action.

We want to provide a place to nourish our souls, deeply, personally & together.

Over the years we have found a lot of help from practices used for centuries, within various Christian traditions (using imagination in prayer, lectio divina as we sit 'in' the scriptures, walking a labyrinth prayerfully) along with more recent practices (using pencils, colour and fabric as creative ways to connect with God) influenced by the celtic proverb "If you want to know the creator- create".

Our by-line is 'Be nurtured by nature', so being set within beautiful natural surrounds & views on these 100 acres is not just a beautiful place to be, it's a part of where and how we meet with God.

So, with our experience and training in Contemplative spiritual direction, as artists, pastors, in running groups and retreats, we're digging into our spiritual tool bag to provide these activities and processes that have fuelled our own spiritual life for the past few decades, especially through some crazy years.

We want to share them with you, giving you the chance to meet with the great 'I am' through these exercises, to incorporate them into your spiritual routines, finding new and old ways to go deeper. 

Practice well known & new methods: Many of you already use or recognise some of  the activities, others have been introduced to them through: 'Sensible Shoes' by Sharon Garlough Brown, 'Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home' by Richard Foster, or "How to pray - a simple guide for normal people." by Peter Greig. For others these are new ideas.

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Let your soul 'Be nurtured in nature' 

at Fosterton Retreat.

Nature is one of the privileged places we meet the Creator.

So, how do you know if these retreat days are for you? (Remember coming to one does not commit you to coming to all.)

Perhaps you’re ready to…

  • Put this time aside throughout the year to focus on you and the Divine Mystery,

  • Harmonise the various parts of your life through prayer,

  • Restore energy levels and be clear through changing times,

  • Deepen prayer practices you already have,

  • Engage more creatively with the creator through prayer (no artistic talent required),

  • Learn old and new prayer practices,

  • Develop new prayer habits.

There will be times of: input, reflection, connection, quiet, and each day will include either walking a labyrinth, creative journaling, lectio divina,or another exercise to use.

Bronwyn & Max will be sharing all the processes from their own spiritual training and mindset along with their training in spiritual direction.

This is not:

Content-heavy, you'll have enough input to be encouraged and guide you in your practice.

It IS time for:




Nurturing the depths of your soul,

Spending precious time with The great I Am,

Sharing with other pilgrims who also desire deep spiritual connection,

Covid safe practices.

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Who are these retreats for?

Those who believe there is a Divine Being to connect with,

Anyone who has a relationship with the Creator,

You may or may not use the word God,

People who follow Jesus and those that don't,


Anyone who desires deeper spiritual connection, 

People prepared to be lead in ancient and new ways of prayer.

It is for you whether employed or not, transformational leader, permission giver, interested in your own and others spiritual growth, listener, carer, involved in ministry/ mission/church, or struggle to know what that even means, connected to an established church or consider yourself a 'church refugee'.


This is not for you if:

You do not believe there is a Divine Being interested in us,

You're more interested in 'how to' instead of 'being',

You want a complete history of prayer methods through Christianity (you'd need more than 4 days),

You have read about Max & Bronwyn's passions background (found below),and training and think it is too risky.

What can I expect?

Day 1-             25th February

Review of 2023 to identify where you are today!


Breath prayer,

Morning tea,

Using the labyrinth,


And deeper connection with others and the creator.

By the end of Day 1 you will have

met some liked-minded people,

practiced some ancient and creative prayer methods:


using a labyrinth,

journalled your insights,

create a personal action plan to inspire you at home.

Day 3-                    16th September:

Using creative prayer exercises to explore moments of mystery in your life (no artistic skills needed), 

Hold a line conversation with the Great I Am

Hear some reflections from Day 2,

Enjoy morning tea,

Spend time in nature going deeper & processing

what you've explored,

By the end of Day 3 you will have:

Met some liked-minded people,

Practiced some ancient and creative prayer methods,

Journalled your insights,

Deepened connections with others and the creator,

Created a personal action plan to inspire you

at home.

DAY 3 feedback

Day 2-                    20th May:

Reflections from Day 1.

Asking what gets in the way for me at this time?

Morning tea,

Visio divina,


And deeper connection with others and the creator.

By the end of Day 2 you will have

Met some liked-minded people,

Practiced some ancient and creative prayer methods such as visio divina,

Journalled your insights,

Created a personal action plan to inspire you at home.

Day 4-            9th December:

Wrapping up the year with:


Reviewing the year

Being present with how 2023 has been.


By the end of Day 4 you will have:

Encouraged your spiritual growth,

Been spiritually nurtured in nature,

Journalled your insights,

Created a personal action plan to inspire you at home.

Loved the activities which took me out of the cognitive, constant chatter of the mind to be pleasantly surprised by what God had to say, meeting me exactly where I was at. K...

Day 1 feedback

The written labyrinth was fantastic as well. I have used his technique a couple of times in the last two weeks.

I said yes to a retreat because I love sitting in nature, love the idea of setting aside time to connect with the Creator, and trust Bron and Max to provide a safe place to explore what that looks like for me. I was reticent to say yes to a retreat because I knew that it meant being creative which is not my happy place.......

....As it turned out for both of the retreats I have participated in, there was no expectation of amazing artistic skills from me  but encouragement to embrace a different way to lean into God, without expectation or judgement. Definitely worth the time investment! You may even find yourself walking a labyrinth :)

Last year, we had a fun day with an enthusiastic group of Wrapping-Uppers, getting ready.

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What are the hours I need to show up?

Arrive around 9.30, so we can start together at 10.00, and we will be finished by 3pm.

Anyone who wants to stay over or walk the labyrinths on the property are welcome to. 


Tell me again what is included so I am clear? 


Beautiful surrounds,

Guided prayer exercises (plus a handout),

Morning Tea,

Follow up.


What do I need to bring? 

-a journal (we recommend unlined pages),

-pens and/or pencils,


-sensible shoes (shoes not the book)

-lunch to suit your needs- microwave and fridge available.

What are your protocols since covid-19?

Please be aware covid-19  is still around

If you are unwell please stay at home- contact us

We encourage mask wearing for those who are vulnerable 

Cleaning is covid-aware,

We encourage distancing

Get to know us -

It's fair to know a bit more about us before trusting us to guide you in any way. We would if the positions were reversed.

Hi  I'm Bronwyn,

I have done a number of things over the years like: nursing; set up and running a local community centre 'For Anyone who needs a little something', along with working as a community pastor; taught Special Religious Education in public schools. I also set up & ran Values for Life in NSW, working with young people in High schools, juvenile detention centres and youth camps; studied Natural History Illustration; been a leader inside and outside of established churches; designed and led the painting of community murals (yes, including people who have never painted before) and am currently training as a Spiritual Director while completing a PhD.

Underneath and through all this is my belief that there is a loving Creator interested in us. This feeds my spiritual practices, impacting how I invest in communities and people's lives for the long term. I have had life experience of: being a widow at a young age; having a second marriage- an extra bonus; caring for a family of 4 children, 2 sons have Cystic Fibrosis-which impacts us all, not just them; and much more. Along with Max, my husband of 35 years (just to show you we do the long term, hard yards as well as fun bits in our own lives).

Bronwyn & Max-pirate photo.jpg
Bronwyn & Max-pirate photo.jpg

Hi I'm Max.

I grew up in Sydney, and after several years in rural areas moved to Newcastle when I married Bronny taking on an instant family. A youthworker by trade, I have had various employments, including farm labourer, mortuary attendant, spiritual director , pastor ( I believe in an 'interventionist God') , counsellor and Choice Theory Reality Therapist, where I get the opportunity to help parents and children create change in their worlds-how fun is that?

As a labyrinth enthusiast, I have made hundreds in wood, on grass and beaches, using them in prayer as well as a reflective and therapeutic tool in counselling.

I love creating, and especially playing with wood, watching sawdust fly. I have been the President of Hunter Arts Network- an art collective of over a 100 local artists for the past 10 years, here I am often seen dressed as a pirate. Like everyone-always looking for treasure, these retreat days are part of that search.


Fosterton Retreat is our 30 year dream coming to fruition. We have dreamt of running retreats like these and were thrilled when reading 'Sensible Shoes' - it seemed to have been written about our dream! (How exciting, Sharon Garlough Brown has endorsed us using this connection with her book.) We're delighted to share our heartbeat, our skills and experience to help others go deeper on their spiritual journey.   

Still not sure this is for you? Contact us and have a discussion- there'll be no hard sell. We want to serve you, so it's important you feel sure this is the right fit for you.


CONTACT  US NOW                                 

or  at or phone: 0439 500 909 (B) 0490 663 228 (M)

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