Acorn is Moving to a New Home
14 Nov 2018, 3:35 p.m.
This is both an exciting and a challenging letter to write. There is much that lies ahead of Acorn in the coming years and it is in that light that the trustees of Acorn, along with the Leadership Team, have made some key decisions that will enable us to grow and be more effective in ministry. We wanted you to have the news personally, before it came into the public domain.
At a meeting of the Acorn Trust in October, the decision was taken that the time had come for Acorn to move from the Whitehill Chase site in Bordon. Acorn will move on from Whitehill Chase next year and will begin relocating some of its events early in the new year. The site will be returned to the care of the Whitehill Chase Trust.
We know that many of you who have visited the Centre in the past, attending ministry and training events, have met God here in deep and profound ways. We are, indeed, grateful to God for all that has taken place over the years since Bishop Morris Maddocks, and his wife Anne, arrived here in 1985, and we are aware how much Acorn’s ministry has been facilitated and enriched by its years in this very special place.
However, the decision was made for two reasons:
Firstly, our vision and calling to promote the ministry of healing, through providing ministry, training and resources in the field of listening, healing and reconciliation is not tied to operating from a particular base, albeit Whitehill Chase. We believe we can provide an increased level of ministry and training to a broader audience locally, regionally and nationally, by locating Acorn in a more accessible place, geographically, and by being closer to where people are.
Secondly, after an extensive review held over the last 3 months, we came to the conclusion that we are no longer able to afford to run the Whitehill Chase Centre properly or economically. We do not have sufficient staff to ensure that the site is safe and up to standard as a retreat centre, and we cannot afford to bring the staff or facilities up to an appropriate operational level. Managing the facilities, took up much time and resource that we needed to devote to the core ministry of ministry and training, that +Morris began. Moving out of Whitehill Chase will give us time and energy to implement a different way of working, and be more accessible to the wider church.
Undoubtedly, questions will arise, but before providing explanations, can we assure you that Acorn is healthy and strong. Not only is it stable, but it is also highly fruitful in its ministry. Acorn is not closing down; on the contrary we are taking up a clear position to be able to serve the church more effectively, and we do trust and pray that you will continue to journey with us and support this unique ministry in this new and bold move.
We are already at the advanced stage of negotiations with alternative locations for all our events, including the Tuesday Healing Service, the School of Healing, Quiet and Retreat Days, and Training events that have been run in the past at Whitehill Chase. The venues are more accessible with ample parking and within easy reach. The office will also move to a new, more suitable and more cost effect facility near at hand. We will let you have all the details in the next few weeks so that you can share in the journey with us.
We have already been in private conversation with the Guildford Diocese over the last couple of months, about where Acorn can partner with them, and now the news is out we will be developing those conversations in a more public setting. We have held very productive discussions with both Bishop Andrew and Bishop Jo and they are both fully supportive of our bold decision and look forward to developing a stronger link with Acorn.
Mark Trigg, an Acorn Trustee, has been appointed by the Board to oversee the transition and will be drawing a team together to make this as smooth a process as possible.
So what can you do right now?
The first thing you can do is pray. We need wisdom for every conversation, every decision and every plan. Acorn has never been this way before and this represents the single biggest change since Bishop Morris came to Bordon.
Pray also for the ongoing work and ministry and for the staff. Not only are we making a significant change, but at the same time we need to keep the ‘business’ of Acorn fully functioning. We need to maintain our engagement with ministry and training.
The second thing you can do with us is invest in the future. Moving always costs money, before you are settled in the new, and we will need to go through all the processes associated with moving a business. We will be costing this out over the next few weeks and inviting all our supporters to help us in whatever way they can.
Since the Director and his wife, Mary, live on site, they too are going to have to move house and so we will be asking for any local ‘wisdom’ in locating alternative accommodation, as we will over new office space.
This is indeed a new day. We would be thrilled to have you part of the change with us. There is a hurting world to minister to and a church that needs equipping to do it.
Yours in the service of Christ the Healer,
Liz Slinn Rev Wes Sutton
Chair of Trustees Director