In the Deep Heart of Winter


I usually offer this PLAYshop/retreat at the end of February. The Qu’Appelle House of Prayer is taking a break this winter, so maybe this retreat will be back in 2025.

Where: Qu’Appelle House of Prayer near Fort Qu’Appelle

What: “The Deep Heart of Winter” invites us to turn inward and rest.  Winter offers us opportunities for quiet, for contemplation, for listening, for reading and storytelling, and for making things with our hands.

During this 3 day retreat , we will  consider the “work of our hands” – whether that be something like carving or paper collage, knitting or crochet, mending or darning, playing with modelling clay or hand-writing. While some consider these activities to be “busy work”, I do not. Working with my hands stills me, settles me, grounds me, and allows me to listen more closely.

I am curious – Why do activities where we use our hands settle and calm us? What is their place in your life? What is the relationship between your heart and what you create with your hands? What happens when we still our hands? How does the “deep heart” of winter inform our handwork?

What We Will Do:

  • you are invited to bring work you like to do with your hands, or you can create paper collages(papers, glue, scissors provided), or you can do a little of both
  • this is a retreat, so some of the time you can do nothing if you wish!!
  • time in silence, both as a group and alone, as we work with our hands
  • some time of conversation to share our insights about working with our hands, and the gifts of winter
  • a daily silent walk to connect us with the “deep heart of winter” (optional)
  • as part of the community at the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer, we will enjoy silence during the lunch meal and conversation during supper. Times of communal prayer, Eucharist or “silent sitting” will be offered for those who wish to take part.

Who should come?  Those who wish for a quiet retreat in the midst of winter with other like souls. Those who enjoy work with their hands, and who wish they had more uninterrupted time to engage in hand work.

I will have materials available for paper collage for those who wish to create art but am open to anyone who enjoys working with just about any kind of hand work (that fits in the setting of the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer). We will be a small group (by design); our pace will be unhurried and relaxed.

View from one of two cabins at the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer

Where:  The Qu’Appelle House of Prayer is a retreat centre nestled in 10 acres on the verdant south side hills of Echo Lake near Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Many people feel a tranquil spirit in the air as soon as they get out of their vehicles. The intentionally quiet atmosphere invites us to really notice and sink into the natural world around us. Accommodations are comfortable and simple; home cooked meals nourish both body and soul. The Qu’Appelle House of Prayer welcomes all with an open heart. There are trails throughout the property, and a stunning chapel looking over the trees and lake, and out to the hills.

Cost/How To Register

All playshops and retreats have a sliding scale from 0 to the stated cost of the event. Please do not let cost be a barrier if you wish to attend. If youwishto use the sliding scale, please let Sue know when you register.

Registration  Please register with Sue at or by calling/texting 306 331 9719 (text) or 306 333 4501(home). A deposit of $50 will guarantee your spot. Cheques (payable to Sue Bland, Box 128, Abernethy, Sask. S0A 0A0) or e – transfers to are accepted. Cost of Leadership:   Suggested contribution is $0-$125 per person.

Cost of Accommodation includes two nights, 2 suppers, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches, as well as snacks. Suggested donation to the House of Prayer is according to one’s means.  The usual offering is $80– $90  per night. For those who are able to pay more, charitable donation tax receipts are available for donations that cover more than accommodation and food.

Total Cost: is from $285 – $305 for those not paying the sliding scale.

2020 participants…we snuck this retreat in just before the pandemic hit