By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
THE first placement of memorial and thanksgiving stones for the Anglican Prayer Grotto at the Mount Olivet Retreat took place during a special dedication and blessing ceremony held last Saturday.
The dedication of the prayer grotto was conducted by Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd and Bishop Gilbert A Thompson.
The Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas has been in the process of establishing a retreat centre and is moving closer to seeing this become a reality.
Mount Olivet is the site where the late Bishop Michael H Eldon once lived. The house has already been converted into a retreat house and conference centre that is in use for meetings and conferences.
A significant aspect of the retreat centre was the construction of a prayer grotto with 14 Stations of the Cross. The prayer grotto is place which individuals and groups can use for prayer and mediation.
Last year, a special ceremony for the dedication of this segment of the retreat centre was led by the Bishop Thompson. Representatives of family members who donated to the prayer grotto and the Stations of the Cross participated in the ceremony, and the first Service of Stations of the Cross took place.
The Stations are intentionally marked for specific and/or general meditations for any season of the year. For example, there are engraved words such as trust, sacrifice, love, justice, wisdom, honour, forgive, et cetera. Also, there are Stations of the Nativity, the Resurrection and Lent.
The first phase of the centre entailed the complete renovation of the Bishopâ€™s Lodge, which includes the meeting room, office and other break rooms. Also, during phase one, the first of several cottages to accommodate sleeping quarters were built.
The complex was officially named Mount Olivet Retreat in a ceremony in May 2016. The name reflects the Mount of Olives, the place where the scripture says Jesus often retreated in order to escape the crowds of his day in order to commune and reconnect with God.
Inspiration for the retreat came about nearly a decade ago and Father Colon Saunders was asked to identify a site for the new diocesan centre.
Father Saunders persuaded several members of the Anglican Church to look at the former residence of the Bishop Eldon located at St Anneâ€™s Close just east of St Anneâ€™s Church.
Father Saunders along with a few other members of the Cursillo community sought and obtained permission from Bishop Boyd to see if the premises might be used for the purpose of a retreat centre and other relevant church activities.