The main L'Abri house is an old English Manor set in spacious grounds. It has two private apartments that accommodate workers (in-house term for members of the permanent community). This is also where visitors live. Additional to the Manor House is an Old School House, a converted Pumphouse, Wellhouse and Stable block that provide accommodation for the workers. These homes make up the L'Abri community, and are where visitors share many of their meals.
There is no formal curriculum. Each day you will have time to avail yourself of our extensive collection of recorded lectures together with a well-stocked library. One of the workers will meet with you regularly to guide you and to discuss personal issues with you. In addition there are two weekly lectures and a book group.
All visitors are expected to help with the practical tasks involved in living in community. We view this aspect as an integral part of your experience here.
The mid-day meal is a time where lively discussions take place over the table. It is the moment where community life comes together preparing and serving the meal, sharing food together, asking questions and growing in our learning as we listen to each other.
You must be at least 18 years old. Most of the student accommodation is in single-sex dormitories of 8-10 people per room, but we also have some limited space for married couples and families.
A pay phone is provided on which you can make and receive calls 01420 538329.
There is no wireless internet facility for visitors at the Manor. There is an internet computer terminal that visitors can use for a small charge, but access is limited to evenings and days off. You may like to bring your smartphone or laptop as you can use them to access the audio lecture library via a local wireless network in the study room. However, we have a policy that their use is for study only, and discourage watching movies, playing video games or accessing the internet using such devices. We are not against technology but want to provide a place were people can step back and think about important life questions and we find the distractions of modern technology unhelpful for that purpose.
To further stimulate community life, we do welcome all musical instruments.
You should not plan on touring the area (except on Thursdays, your day off), or leaving on weekends during your time with us. We will provide towels and bedding throughout your stay, and your laundry is done on a regular basis.
Informal clothes are virtually always appropriate here. Keep in mind that our homes are QUITE COOL most of the year, so bring plenty of layers for indoors and out. Plan to bring an alarm clock and a watch, as we will rely on you to keep to the daily schedule.Find out when we are open>
Right from the beginning of L’Abri the basis for the work has been the offering of hospitality to whomever the Lord sends. This hospitality is expressed through the welcoming of students into the worker’s homes, to share in the life of the community and in particular the welcoming of students to share in our meal-times, to gather around our tables for food, conversation and companionship. It is within this context of the hospitality of mealtimes that food finds it place at L’Abri. We are not a professional catering organisation nor food preparation business, nor restaurant.
Meal preparation is planned and carried out by workers or helpers with additional help from students with the practical tasks. Thought, creativity and care is put into the planning and presentation of meals, expressing our God-given creativity, joy and gratitude in his good provision for us and our desire to offer real hospitality to those who gather around our tables.
As a student at L’Abri we suggest that an appropriate way to look at L’Abri meals is that you are being welcomed as guest into someone else’s home, that they have prepared a meal with care and creativity and invited you to share it with them around their table.
Because food at L’Abri is within the context of the offering of hospitality there are some limitations to the offering of food. One of these is that the worker preparing the food cannot make 12 different dishes for the 12 different people around the table according to their likes and dislikes. What is on offer is not a restaurant menu but a meal prepared within a home with care and creativity for a group of people invited to a meal table. One meal is prepared and offered.
We do however want to recognise that some people have serious food allergies and our desire is to try to offer hospitality to these people within the limitations we have. We will therefore endeavour to make meals (or a meal option) that is appropriate for people with medically diagnosed gluten or lactose intolerance or who have chosen to be vegetarian. We will also endeavour to make appropriate meals for those with serious life-threatening allergies to food-stuffs (i.e. peanut allergy) and will make it clear if meals have such food content. But we cannot cater every mealtime for other dietary requirements.
If you have other requirements than the ones listed above then this need not bar you to staying at L’Abri but you may need to supplement the meals offered with your own bought food. We have a student kitchen with a fridge, kettle and microwave where food can be stored and prepared but students do not have access to the L’Abri kitchen for their own private meal preparation.
We ask all students when they apply to come to L’Abri to let us know about any special food requirements before they come. This way we can plan ahead and also enter into dialogue with you if you have an unusual food requirement.