Who’s behind this?
Freely Given Retreats is a charity run by a small group of trustees who are all experienced and committed retreatants. They are supported by Insight Meditation teacher Kirsten Kratz. The roles of chairperson, treasurer and secretary are rotated amongst trustees each year. In future years trustees will be elected on an annual basis by our members. Membership of the charity is open to anyone who participates in our retreats.
Mark began his love affair with meditation in 2007. He soon after donned the robes of a Hindu monk, and lived as such for a year before returning to England to discover the Insight Meditation tradition. In the years since he has served as a volunteer coordinator at both The Barn Retreat and Gaia House, and spent over six months on silent retreat. He is currently working to bring meditation more fully into prisons.
Richard has been practising meditation on and off for 16 years and first became interested in the Insight Meditation tradition 7 years ago. He is passionate about environmental issues and the integration of spiritual practice into daily life. He has served as a volunteer coordinator at Gaia House twice and currently works as an enabler for those with learning difficulties at Plymouth University.
Simon has been practicing Insight Meditation in Europe and Asia for twenty years. During this time he has alternated periods of many months of extended retreat and periods of employment. He has worked as a volunteer manager at Gaia House, an Insight Meditation centre in Devon. He currently works as a frontline member of staff in a community mental health team in the NHS.
Stewart is inspired to support Freely Given Retreats primarily because of the charity’s commitment to the practice of generosity. He feels that his practice has been continually supported by the generosity of others, and as such wants to support others and make retreats available in this way. He has been practising since 2005 and currently lives on an organic small holding in Devon.
Rachel was inspired to join the Freely Given Retreats team after attending two of the retreats herself in 2015. The ethos of the organisation and the concept of Dana impacted on her deeply and she has been moved to help share the unique gifts of silence, teaching and generosity more widely ever since.
Kirsten has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. In 2006 she started to teach and since 2008 teaches group retreats in Gaia House where she also supports those on personal retreat. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE) and facilitates retreats with SanghaSeva combining Dharma practice and Service.