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Rachel’s Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites around the world.

The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may cause emotional discomfort.

How much do the weekends cost?

The price varies between each individual site depending on the place where the retreat is held. Most of the weekends are offered for an average of $75-$100 for the entire weekend. This price includes lodging for two nights all your meals, and all retreat materials. Financial assistance is available so that money is not an obstacle to your participation.

You need to e-mail or phone the Rachel’s Vineyard host site in NL, Centre for Life at (709) 579-1500, toll free at 1-877-997-5433 or email counsellors@centreforlife.ca if you have any questions or requesting financial assistance. To view a listing of all Rachel Vineyard weekends click here.

How long are the weekends?

Most of the Rachel’s Vineyard weekends begin on Friday evening and run until Sunday late afternoon early evening. You can ask specific questions regarding each site from the local retreat coordinator.

Who runs each weekend?

Each weekend is composed of a group of people who have been trained in the Rachel’s Vineyard process. They include a team consisting of a professional counselor, women and men who have also experienced abortion, loving and non-judgmental lay volunteers and clergy. Rachel’s Vineyard NL is interdenominational. These individuals volunteer their time freely, because they understand the importance of healing and recovery that maybe needed after abortion.They are competent and caring individuals who will respect where you are in the grief process and help you move into a deeper level of healing.

Each exercise in an invitation to explore your feelings and emotions. Nothing will be forced on you at any time. The process is respectful of different faith traditions and cultural heritage. You are invited to share with the group, but you can also process this experience privately within the silence of your own heart. There will be no effort to proselytize or convert you to Christianity, but simply an invitation to dialogue with your creator through a very personal and intimate process.

How many people will be there?

Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats typically have around 5-10 participants on each weekend. At some sites the size may be smaller or larger, depending on the facility. The group maintains a small and intimate size to allow each participant time for sharing and processing the exercises together. There is also a team of approximately 6 helpers and retreat team members who help facilitate the actual weekend, conduct the exercises, serve delicious meals and attend to any special needs you may have.

Why do this in a group?

Abortion can be a very isolating experience for women or for men. Very often, because of shame and stigma, people avoid talking about the abortion and often have to expand a great deal of energy to keep the secret. It can help to be able to talk about your own experience with others who have had similar experiences , in a supportive , non-judgmental environment. The group experience ends the isolation and gives you emotional support as you go through your recovery process. You’ll experience that others who have been in similar circumstances will affirm you and not judge.

Can men go on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat?

Yes. Men are most welcome to attend the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend. After abortion, men often struggle with a range of emotions that can include grief, regret, loss , and anger or powerlessness. Men who have attended the weekend report that it is helpful.  Click here to visit our Men’s Section.

Should I consider inviting my spouse or support person to go with me on the weekend?

Married couples often attend the weekend together. Sometimes the spouse participated in the abortion; sometimes the spouse was not involved in the abortion, but comes as a support person. Abortion can be a very isolating experience- there can be fear of others finding out, and the secrecy makes it hard to get the emotional support you need. Bringing a support person to the weekend with you, whether a spouse, family member or close friend, allows you to have some additional support as you go through your recovery process. Having someone go through the experience with you may help you later, to know there is someone at home or within your personal support network, who understands what you have been through. But many women prefer to come on their own, without a support person, and we respect your decision either way. The Rachel’s vineyard team offers support with no judging as you go through the weekend.

Can this weekend program help my marriage?

When men join in the healing journey with their wives it can open the door to improved communication, and an increase in physical and emotional intimacy.

Is Rachel’s Vineyard confidential?

Yes. When you sign up for a retreat, your name will not be given to any other individual or group for any circumstance. If you choose to be listed on a contact list for the other members of your weekend group, that is your decision. You can inquire about this program by e-mail or telephone and you can specify how you would like to receive any information. You might also choose to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend that is in a different location from where you live to assure complete anonymity.

If you have any questions about Rachel’s Vineyard NL please use our confidential email counsellors@centreforlife.ca To visit the International Rachel’s Vineyard website visit http://www.rachelsvineyard.org or you may contact Dr. Martha Shuping at martha.shuping@gmail.com

What happens after the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend?

After your weekend you will have met some wonderful people who may become your very best friends. Most sites offer a reunion for those who wish to participate and nearly all the Rachel’s Vineyard sites offer ongoing opportunities to address other concerns you may want to explore following the weekend.

For example, if you have a history of sexual abuse, you may decide that you want to begin working on those issues; or if you struggle with alcoholism or an eating disorder, there will be referrals given at the weekend to help you continue in your healing journey. There will be other events and meetings for those who want to stay connected to Rachel’s Vineyard.

We invite all our past alumni to subscribe to a monthly e-letter that you can receive for the first year after your retreat called Oaktrees. It is written for and by those who have been on the weekend and is a wonderful resource for aftercare. More information is available about Oaktrees.

Some women and men might feel called to get involved in other ways by helping on a future retreat team or other involvement with Rachel’s Vineyard on a local or national level.