Walsingham House at Abbotswick needs a new manager

Joseph Beattie, the Retreat, Hospitality and Facilities Coordinator at Walsingham House at Abbotswick, will be leaving in the summer. Joe has been in post for five years and is now looking to pursue a career in teaching. Director of Youth Ministry Claire Bailey says he will be much missed. “Joe has given so much life and energy to Walsingham House at Abbotswick in what have been some challenging years. He helped to keep Walsingham House active during the pandemic, helping to maintain an online presence throughout and then by finding new ways to deliver Covid-safe retreats for schools and parishes across the diocese.  The fact that Walsingham House continues is in part down to his heroic efforts over the last few years and we are thankful for his determination, good humour and faith. Joe will be missed but he is ready for a new chapter and we wish him every blessing.”

The Diocese is currently looking for someone to step into his shoes. Says Claire: “This is an exciting role and we hope to find someone with a passion for youth ministry to further develop and lead retreats at our Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre. The Retreat Manager will work to ensure the smooth and efficient running of Walsingham House at Abbotswick, as an inspiring, faith-filled retreat house welcoming over 5,000 young people each year, and as a centre of excellence where young adults are accompanied and formed in leadership within the Catholic Church, in the spirit of Christus Vivit.”

Joe himself says Abbotswick is a beautiful place to live and work. “In a retreat house everything you do is part of mission. What I have enjoyed most is seeing the young volunteers who join as team members each year grow.  While I have loved working with young people attending retreats, supporting those volunteers and having fun together has been special.”

His long-term goal was always to become a primary school teacher and his experience at Walsingham House at Abbotswick certainly complements that ambition.  A member of Basildon parish when younger, he attributes his role at the retreat house to the influence of his parish priest, Fr Dominic Howarth. “Without him I would not have been in the Brentwood Youth Service or at Abbotswick. He has been a huge inspiration, along with Fr Michael Barwick, who was in the manager’s role previously, and the support of Claire Bailey.”

He says what he will miss most is “knowing that you are going to be doing something different every day, meeting new young people every day – and the support of the team around you.”

So what advice would he give his successor? “Embrace every moment,” he says. “Spend time in the garden and in the chapel by yourself. Embrace the peace and uniqueness of your workplace.”

If you have experience and a passion for Youth Ministry, and would like to help shape the retreat work of Walsingham House at Abbotswick then please see the website for more information (www.bcys.net/retreat-manager/) or email Claire Bailey, Director of Youth Ministry ([email protected]) Closing date for applications is Monday 13 March 2023. Full job description: Retreat Manager Walsingham House at Abbotswick 2023