Silent Retreat Days

When: Second Saturday of each month (with occasional date changes) 9 am until 3 pm

Who: All are welcome

Where: Gunpowder Friends Meeting House

Contact: LouAnne Smith at to learn more or confirm attendance

Gunpowder Friends Meeting Photo


Silent Retreat Days at Gunpowder Friends Meeting House provide an opportunity to gather in community – in silence – to refresh and renew our spiritual lives and to ground ourselves in peace and stillness away from the rush of daily life.

The Silent Retreat day is largely unstructured. The Meeting House is open at 9 am. We settle in to silence by 9:15 am, then rise to our separate contemplative or active ways, indoors or outdoors, as we are inwardly led. Some take walks in the surrounding countryside, spend time in prayer or meditation, or engage in journaling, drawing, reading, knitting, or checking out the library.

At noon a gentle bell calls us to gather for a bring-your-own-brown-bag lunch in the west room (or if the weather is pleasant, we gather on the porch). This provides an opportunity for shared silence and, occasionally, a shared reading. Now and then a Friend may feel led to bring a pot of soup or a dessert to share

After lunch we return to personal silence. At 2:30 pm we gather again in the west room in silence where there may be a spoken reflection on the day, or not, as we feel led. The retreat ends at 3 pm and we transition out of the silence to a brief time of conversation as we close the Meeting House.

Special considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic: Gunpowder Meeting House is generally open, masks optional and strongly suggested for those who have concerns or health complexities. We ask Friends attending activities at Gunpowder to be vaccinated, but no proof of vax status is required. Participants in any activity are asked to follow standard safety procedures such as hand washing and to be respectful of the requests of others for precautions.


Please contact LouAnne Smith if you would like to attend.

"Shhhhh... Don't tell a soul... Silent Retreat is one of the best kept secrets at Gunpowder Meeting! 
"Actually, we who are regulars at Silent Retreat (aka Quiet Days) often wish that more Friends could join us and enjoy the nourishment of this kind of day.  After the opening worship, you can occupy yourself as you choose -- reading, meditating, writing, sketching, knitting, walking, cycling, napping.  Whatever the activity, it is enriched by the awareness that silence brings.  One month I worried that I was "cheating" by bringing some essays to grade. I was surprised to discover that I was not filling the time with a mundane chore; instead I found an extraordinary focus on the task and a deep connection with my students.  
"Rainer Maria Rilke said, 'I am too much alone in the world, and not enough alone, to make every moment holy.'  The silent community of the retreat participants bridges this paradox for me:  The 'fruits of solitude' ripen in a gathering with other souls.  
"And then there is the lunch! You know the saying that everything tastes better outside? Well, I've found that everything tastes better in silence.  Without the distraction of conversation, one can be fully present with the meal, and all the more grateful for the gifts of nourishment and human company."
~ Gunpowder Friend