Pictured: Eden Waters hosts Tim and Sue Cornish (centre) with guests Paul and Karina McKendrick (left) and Emily and Nick Ferguson (right).
By Emily Ferguson
Keith Farmer said it best: “To go well, you need to stop well.”
For my husband Nick and I, time at Eden Waters was just what was needed to begin 2024. My spirit was somersaulting with anticipation as we pulled into the driveway, and a breathtaking view of the Central Coast’s Broadwater expanded before us. We made it!! Exhale. Inhale.
Tim and Sue Cornish, from Coast Community Church, opened Eden Waters in January 2024, the culmination of a 15-year dream to facilitate a space for Christian leaders from church, business or not-for-profit settings to retreat and connect with God in a lovingly curated space.
Their heart for Eden Waters lies in the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG):
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Tim and Sue warmly greeted us as if we were old friends, inviting us to share a cool drink on their waterfront balcony before showing us to our thoughtfully appointed room. The views, the retreat resources, the outdoor activities, the personal welcome, the community we forged and, let’s be honest, the generosity of amazing food, coffee and wine, all worked together to scaffold an intentional time with God.
The journey to opening Eden Waters has not been linear, yet Tim and Sue’s faithfulness to the call of God has not wavered.
“We’ve been here for five months, but our journey began 15 years ago when Tim was a business leader on the Central Coast,” Sue recounted.
“At that time, Andrew Ranucci began the spiritual retreating in our church. It was such a lifeline for us – practising things like silence and solitude, sabbath and fasting – and we said, “We want to do this for others!” So, we started to plan for Tim to sell out of his business so we could do this together.
“The expectations on Christian leaders are enormous these days; the criticism is high, and the load is great. Retreating is vital for leaders to remember who they are and that the burden they carry is not theirs. Eden Waters is a place for conversation, where we get to know God and be known by him, to understand and hear his voice, and to distinguish that voice from all the noise of what we have to do.”
Eden Waters was a getaway but not a holiday. In the mornings, we elected to have a cooked breakfast and conversation with Tim, Sue and the other guests, which helped set up the day. We enjoyed two hours of silence and solitude kayaking to Hardys Bay and back, complete with a packed lunch and morning tea. I heard from God in ways I never would have if I had been filled with the noise of the everyday. The day ended with 5pm drinks and nibbles on the balcony and dinner around the table, which allowed us to share stories and find common encouragement in our life with God.
I can’t wait to go back to Eden Waters. Not only have I made new friends, but my relationship with God – and my husband – was enriched, strengthened and refreshed. I want more of that.
Tim and Sue warmly invite you to experience walking with God at Eden Waters. To learn more, visit edenwaters.com.au.
churches of Christ in NSW & ACT continues to be committed to encouraging sabbatical rhythms in the lives of its leaders. For more sabbatical resources, or to find out about applying for a sabbatical grant, visit our Sabbatical Hub.
Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE