Southborough L'Abri


A DAY IN THE LIFE


One of the helpful things about being at L'Abri is that the study and discussion are integrated into the "real daily life" of living with families and working at all kinds of practical tasks. God often seems to use this context as a place where people can begin to integrate their faith into all areas of life. This kind of integration is important in our increasingly compartmentalized modern life, and can be very freeing, but it may not be terribly glamorous.

A "Mountain top experience" is not our goal. You should not come expecting a secluded retreat environment. Instead we have tried to maintain the reality of a family setting in all the branches of L'Abri. There are lots of mundane chores to be done, some perpetual disorganization, and not enough space for students to have private rooms. You may find some of this difficult, but there is a reality to the environment that by the grace of God, many have found helpful.

The main L'Abri house is an old New England mansion on twenty-one acres of land. It is divided up into two private apartments which house four of the staff, rooms for student housing, and the library in which students study. One newer home houses additional staff. These homes make up the L'Abri community, and are where students live, study, work, and share meals.

All students are expected to study for three hours and work for three hours each day. The study is primarily drawn from recorded lectures from the various branches of L'Abri and from books in our library. One of us will sit down with you after your arrival to help you plan a direction of study that addresses your specific questions and needs. The work consists of whatever needs to be done at the moment to keep the branch going. Mealtimes are a time to get to know your fellow students and to discuss whatever you have on your mind, including questions from your studies (for more on meals, see below). In addition there are a weekly lecture, book study, creative activities, and individual time with the workers. Each student is matched with a worker as a "tutor". One on one tutorials take place generally once a week, and are a space for students to process what they are studying/learning, as well as their overall experience of being in the community.

WHAT TO BRING

Informal, comfortable clothes and footwear 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. Layers are the key to New England weather, in all seasons! PLEASE NOTE that in all seasons some of the daily work is done outdoors, so bring some old clothes and outdoor footwear.

You should plan to bring a notebook/journal, pens, and a Bible if you have one, although we have plenty here for students to use. Although we do not require students to remove their shoes in the houses, many students prefer to have a pair of slippers/houseshoes to wear indoors. Plan to bring an alarm clock and a watch, as we will rely on you to keep to the daily schedule.

Musical instruments are always welcome! We also have a pond behind the big house and there are some beautiful walks in the area, do feel free to bring your skates and cross-country skis in the winter months!

FOOD AT L'ABRI

From the very beginning, hospitality has been the cornerstone of the ministry of L'Abri. Meals are offered in workers homes, and are prepared with care and creativity as an offering of God's goodness to those gathered around the table. While at L’Abri, the most appropriate way to think of meals is that you are being welcomed as a guest into someone’s home for a family meal, versus a restaurant or dining hall experience. Given this environment, we are unable to cater to every individual food request. However, we do recognize that there are people with severe food allergies, and we desire to offer hospitality within the limitations we have. We are able to offer meals, or a meal option, to people who are vegetarian or who have medically diagnosed food allergies/issues. If this is a reality for you, please let us know at the time that you make your reservation, so that we can plan appropriately for your stay. If you have food requirements other than those listed above, this need not prevent you staying at L’Abri. However, please contact us about this prior to making a reservation, so that we can make sure that a realistic plan can be made for your time here.

TECHNOLOGY

Due to the prevalence of media and technology in all parts of life, we at L'Abri have felt the need to rethink the presence of laptop computers and devices in the midst of our shared life together. While these technologies are very useful, they can also be conscious (or unconscious!) distractions from engagement in community life. Given this reality, we have developed a series of guidelines to help us all navigate the presence of technology in our midst. Our hope is that we can experience a different way of being together: one that encourages the goodness of being human, sharing our lives and ideas, growing, learning, being creative, and having fun together. These guidelines are meant to assist us in taking full advantage of the blessings of community life at L'Abri:

1) All devices (phones, tablets, & laptops) should remain in the bedrooms during work time, study time (see #2), meals, and all L'Abri activities.
2) Devices may be used in the library or tile room during study time if you are using them to take notes or stream lectures.
3) No tech devices should be used at all in the bedrooms after 10:00 pm.
4) If you need to call or message someone, please go outside of the house. We encourage you not to do this during work or study times. In the case of inclement weather, please speak to a worker who will find a private space for you to use.
5) We do not offer wifi for student use. There are a public library and several coffee shops nearby that you can use on days off (Thursdays) or free evenings.
6) Please do not show something on a "screen" to any of the children at L'Abri. We want to respect the role of parents as the ones to monitor and control their children's screen exposure.

ODDS AND ENDS

Students must be at least 18 years old. We have limited accommodations for married couples (with or without small children), but please make arrangements for this well in advance of a term.

Students may come for any length of time up to a full "term." Our terms are usually between two and three months in length. There are periods between terms during which L'Abri is closed. See reservations for our open dates, cost, and additional information.

You should not plan on having an outside job, 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 laundry is done weekly.

 

Find out when we are open>>