Back in the 1980s in Slough, Roy and some local ministers would get together to pray, and organise regular meetings across the denominations in Slough. Through contact with the local churches, we had the idea of running “Weekends for the Churches” when we invited local Christians to stay with us. We’d give them a weekend of teaching, worship, ministry and good food. In those days, though, we didn’t have guest rooms, so community members would spring clean their bedrooms, give them up, and find a corner elsewhere to sleep in! The dream of having special guest accommodation and running some kind of retreat centre was born in those days.
It was a dream come true when God moved us to Childswickham House. It was tailor-made to what we needed. Wonderfully enough, the previous owners had spent the same eleven years doing up our new home that we had spent working on the old HOD house!
None of us were trained in hotel and catering management or as chefs (and still aren’t though we’ve all done Health and Safety training!). Despite this, the word spread quickly about our place, and after two or three years we were fairly well-established, with a reputation for good food, comfortable accommodation and peaceful atmosphere. Judging from our guests’ comments, this is much the same today.
These days we probably average about 2600 guests a year, and that fulfils a prophecy we were given in the early eighties that there would be thousands passing through our home, not hundreds or millions, but thousands. At the time we couldn’t see how that could be, but all is revealed in time! We keep our rates as low as possible so that people won’t be put off coming because they can’t afford it. And the great advantage of being able to earn at least part of our income in this way is that we are able to be more flexible for outreach work and ministries.
When we moved to Childswickham we knew that God was giving us this beautiful home not only for us to enjoy. He meant it as a blessing to those who don’t have the privilege of living in the midst of green trees and open fields; to help those who need a bit of inner quiet find it in peaceful surroundings; to give God’s people space and time to be with Him.
Reading thank you notes from people, it’s so obvious that God takes our puny natural efforts and adds something supernatural to bless our guests.
For this, and for everything He does:
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His love endures forever!”