One of the helpful dimensions of life at L’Abri is the integration of study and discussion with practical community work. This contributes to seeing the Christian life in a more holistic manner, rather than compartmentalized.
The study portion of the day is spent in Farel House, where we have our library and lecture collection, as well as other articles and papers covering a broad range of subjects. It is essential that you view study times as a significant part of your day. To aid in studying, all students who stay at least seven days meet with a tutor, one of the staff, weekly. A tutor will suggest a study program tailored to the needs, questions, and interests of each particular person. Tutoring sessions also give students the opportunity to talk through what they are studying or would like to study, get recommendations for study materials, discuss challenging topics, process information from studies and experiences in community life, and so on. Everyone is welcome to seek out dialogue with any of the staff, as their time permits, but the tutor is the one who meets regularly with the same people each week.
In preparation for your studies, we recommend that you read at least one of the books on the Resources page prior to your arrival. Please look through that page for more information.
The other part of the day is spent working at whatever needs to be done to keep the community going. This involves anything from gardening to shoveling snow to cleaning and cooking, including learning to bake fresh bread. All are expected to take part in both aspects of community life. L’Abri is not a quiet retreat center, and the time here can be busy and rather intense. However, days off on Thursdays and Sunday afternoons allow time for exploring the area, sightseeing, skiing, hiking, and so on.
In addition to daily work and study, there are two lectures per week given by L’Abri workers or visiting lecturers. Lectures cover a wide range of topics, such as theological and philosophical issues, cultural engagement and critique, understanding of the self and others through biblical and psychological principles, and many others. They also include a time for questions and discussion during which students are encouraged to voice their perspectives and dialogue with one another and the lecturer.
On Sunday mornings, we hold a chapel service in which a worker provides an in-depth discussion of a passage, section, or topic in the Bible. We value worship through singing and the liturgy, but for a number of reasons we have decided that the wisest course is to not include these elements of traditional church services in our Sunday meetings.
A Note about Travel Plans
During your stay with us, you should not plan on touring the area except during your designated time off. You will have all of Thursday and half of Sunday – 1 1/2 days in total – to use each week as free time to explore if you wish. If you would like to travel more than this during your time in Europe, we ask that you plan to do so before or after, not during, your stay at L’Abri. We have found that excursions beyond the time allotted by the work-study schedule end up creating too much discontinuity in community life. If during your stay with us (between your booked dates of arrival and departure) it becomes absolutely necessary to leave L’Abri for a few days, we will ask you to pay for your bed while you’re gone. In other words, when people book in for certain dates, our expectation is that they will be with us for those dates.
For more information on what community life looks like, click here