English L'Abri

Welcome to English L'Abri.

Thank you for your interest in the English branch of L'Abri. We hope this functions as a useful door to our community. If you have questions that are not answered here, do contact us at office@englishlabri.org

We are located in the beautiful countryside of Hampshire about 50 miles southwest of London in the village of Greatham (pronounced "grettam"). L'Abri (French for "the shelter") does not fit neatly into any categories of description. You could say it is a community built around homes that offers hospitality through the act of welcoming strangers. L'Abri was born fifty years ago in Switzerland when Francis and Edith Schaeffer opened their home to those who came seeking answers to life's many questions, or at least a place where they would get a serious hearing. Since then it has grown to include eight branches in seven countries.

It has sometimes been supposed that L'Abri is a place for intellectuals or intellectual pursuits only. This has never been the case. A wide variety of people come to stay with us, for many different reasons, from a variety of backgrounds, world-views, ages and occupations. Some do not see themselves as Christians, and come looking for a place where their questions will be taken seriously. Many people come to address living as Christians in the modern world. Every guest brings to L'Abri their own unique life, thoughts, interests and questions.

L'Abri is a place where we try to take all genuine questions seriously. Our foundational belief is that Christianity as found in the Bible is true. This means that a commitment to the God of the Bible is rational and that faith is never divorced from reason. Moreover, because Christianity is true, not only can it be discussed intellectually, it can also be passionately imagined and practically lived out as the Truth.

Furthermore, we believe that the life-affirming truth of Christianity speaks to all of human life and thought. This means our lives are not divided between "sacred" and "secular" activities, and that Christian faith integrates all of human life, including our minds, our hearts, our work, our play, and our relationships. This also means that art, history, philosophy, economics, psychology, education, politics, science, contemporary society, and all other realms of thought can be examined from a Biblical viewpoint.

One of the helpful things about being at L'Abri is that intellectual pursuits and discussion are mixed into the "real daily life" of living with families and working at all kinds of practical tasks. This provides 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 world, 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 life within a family setting. There are lots of mundane chores to be done, some perpetual disorganization and not enough space for visitors to have private rooms. You may find some of this difficult, but there is a reality to the environment that many have found helpful.

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