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 $130.00 for the entire weekend. This
price includes your room, all your meals, and all retreat
materials. Most all the Rachel's Vineyard sites have financial
assistance or they can work out a monthly payment plan so that
money is not an obstacle for your participation. Some sites are
able to offer those in financial need a complete scholarship.
You need to e-mail or phone the Rachel's Vineyard contact at
the site you wish to register to find out specific details
regarding the weekend you would like to attend. To view a
listing of weekends
here. You can also call our toll-free hotline at 877 HOPE 4
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
are invited to come and spend the entire weekend, have all your
meals with us, and in most places, you will have a private room
for sleeping, although some places may have a shared room. You
can ask specific questions regarding each site from the local
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 a representative of God -- a minister or priest.
These individuals volunteer their time freely, because they
understand the importance of healing and recovery surrounding
the pain of 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 respective 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
How many people will be there?
Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreats typically have around
12-15 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
Why do this in a group?
We see abortion as a trauma. Traumatic events are often
aggravated by the need to keep it a carefully guarded secret
whereby the toxic and shameful feelings have no voice. Healing
for victims of trauma can be accomplished by establishing
safety, reconstructing the trauma story, and restoring the
connection between survivors and the community. A group context
is very cathartic because others who "have been there" can
provide validation of symptoms and a supportive, healing element
to the process.
This does not negate the value of individual counseling and
support, however, an experience of group process, particularly
when family support can be introduced, often provides a deeper
more complete level of healing. You may read about the
experiences of others who have labored in Rachel's Vineyard.
Can men go on a Rachel's Vineyard retreat?
Yes. After abortion, men often struggle with a sense of
powerlessness, of feeling they failed to protect both mother and
child-perhaps abandoning the mother, or threatening to leave her
if she did not abort. Others have been prevented from stopping
an abortion they did not want. This can lead to a deep anger and
resentment that needs to finds a voice, and be healed. Other men
never acknowledged the humanity of their unborn, told the mother
"its your decision (a form of abandonment) and can later
struggle with deep grief, regret and loss as they come to terms
more honestly with their role in the abortion experience. Men
who are involved with abortion need to find healing of the
wounds abortion leaves on the male heart and soul. Many men have
attended the Rachel's Vineyard weekend and have found deep
emotional and spiritual healing. Men are most welcome to attend
the Rachel's Vineyard retreat.
here to visit our Men's Section
Should I consider inviting my spouse or support person to go
with me on the weekend?
We have seen many married couples attend the weekend
together. Some whose spouses participated in the abortion, and
others who were not involved with a previous abortion, but who
come as a support person. The results have been exceptionally
positive and all report an increase in communication and
intimacy after the weekend. There have also been individuals who
decide to come with one or both of their parents, specifically
if the parent forced their daughter to have an abortion or if
the decision was made based on fears or disapproval.
Naturally, the damage to family relationships can be opened
for healing in Rachel's Vineyard The weekend is a unique
opportunity to address this pain and reconcile the experience
with each other. So we gently encourage you to consider this
option, but will always respect your unique circumstances if you
decide this is not what is best for you. There will always be
opportunities in the future to take this step if you are
searching for additional healing and reconciliation.
During the Rachel's Vineyard weekend, we encounter healing
through seeking re-connection, integration, and wholeness. Such
healing can only happen when the isolation and secrecy are
dismantled, and one's story is revealed to others who do not
seek to judge and condemn. Only then is it finally possible,
with the support of a small community of others who
compassionately affirm the loss and respect the grief, to grieve
one's losses to their fullness.
The importance of social support to the grief process
reflects an important aspect of our human nature: Though we are
individuals, we are inescapably social beings. The lack of
social support will degrade or destroy our well-being.
Conversely, the experience of social support, in even a single
relationship, can strengthen our well-being.
For most of us, it is only when we have the support of others
who will not judge or condemn us that we feel safe from social
rejection. This support makes it easier for us to confront and
explore the deepest part of our souls. With it, one learns how
to accept forgiveness from God and one's aborted child. With it,
one learns how to extend forgiveness to oneself and others. And
with it, one discovers how the most difficult soul-breaking
experiences imaginable can be used as the foundation for
building a richer, deeper, and more meaningful existence.
Safety and confidentiality are essential when one begins to
explore post abortion healing. However if the healing process
encourages only private counsel, not involving spouses, or
family in the process, this may actually reinforce the isolation
that one experienced when they initially went away in secret to
"deal with the problem."
So counseling itself can be surrounded with the same anxiety
as going away in secret to have an abortion, because you are
still going away alone to deal with the aftermath. Consequently,
the secret is still intact and so is the shame and guilt
As long as one has the lingering doubt that if my parents, my
spouse, my sister, etc., know about my abortion they would
reject me, judge me, condemn me, or hurt me, one is not free to
trust or experience the blessed intimacy of being known,
unconditionally accepted, and loved. Frequently, we can only
feel loved to the extent that others know us and accept us.
Perhaps someone close to you might need to learn more about
abortion trauma and some of the ways that this experience can
impact a woman.
Forbidden Grief is a good resource for education on this
What are the benefits to inviting a support person?
As your are working to reconnect to past memories and
feelings, you can also reach out to the terminated or damaged
relationships in your family. The memorial service is a
beautiful vehicle to help facilitate this reconciliation. If you
choose to share this event with a family member, spouse, or
someone who cares deeply about you, your guest will be affirmed
for their support. Our staff is present to model and instruct
how they can best be supportive. The experience of grief is
bonding. Sharing grief naturally leads to intimacy, as you will
surely experience on a Rachel's Vineyard weekend.
This releases the negative effects of the secret trauma, the
shame, guilt and isolation. Trust is restored when one opens
this wound in a safe environment and receives the loving
compassion of fellow weekend participants. Of course, its up to
you to decide what you would like to do regarding inviting a
family member or support person. Any choice you make regarding
this will be respected. Here is a comment from a mother who was
invited by her daughter:
I witnessed miracles last weekend. Our daughter invited
us for the memorial service on her Rachel's Vineyard
weekend. It was a profound experience: women and men given
the opportunity to grieve openly, to name that grief and
those children, and to share the joy that comes with the
realization that your are not alone in your grief. I feel so
much closer to my daughter now - and feel honored that she
trusted us enough to be present to her in this pain.
Weekends, such as the one are were privileged to witness,
give us back the essential part of healing. Thank you all.
At this time it was also a miracle to see the church
function as it should as a loving sheltering structure
enhancing relationships with God, rather that and
institution often hindering them. Peace.
The Rachel's Vineyard weekend is very respectful of the
unique needs and situations of all participants. For most people
it is only after they are well into the weekend that they feel
the desire to invite a loved one to the memorial service. The
comfort of a close family member can be an important event in
the healing of isolation and feelings of abandonment which
frequently accompany an abortion experience. Sharing grief, and
the healing and hope that follows, can bond us in a deeper way
with those we love.
Can this weekend program help my marriage?
The weekend will be especially helpful to couples who have
not been able to grieve together. The inability for husbands and
wives to acknowledge this loss and creates distance bitterness
and resentment. When men join in the healing journey with their
wives it opens the door to a dramatic increase in physical and
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
If you have any questions for us, please see our
confidential e-mail page and talk to one of our Rachel's
Vineyard e-mail buddies.
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, may
decide that they 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
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.