Forest Haven is a Christian organization whose purpose is to provide a rural, quiet place of healing hospitality and spiritual refreshment for Christian ministers and missionaries, and their spouses, who need time away from their responsibilities to draw closer to God.
Besides offering lodging in a beautiful place, Forest Haven’s Hosts, Randy & Jill Thompson, offer an encouraging and healing ministry of listening, loving and praying. They also respect the privacy of those who wish to be alone.
Your Hosts, Randy & Jill Thompson
Randy & Jill Thompson have served New England churches for almost 30 years. They understand the pressures of ministry, and what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by people’s expectations, church conflict, and people’s needs.
Randy has served churches in Sherman CT, Windsor CT, and Concord NH. He was also director of the Christian Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut for five years in the mid-80’s. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. In English, and received an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, writing his thesis on the novels of Charles Williams. He attended Yale Divinity School, from which he received his M.Div. His experience in ministry brought him to see that time devoted to silence, solitude and prayer is essential for effective ministry. Having been through burn-out, he knows what that is like from the inside.
As a pastor’s wife, Jill knows firsthand the expectations, stresses, and struggles that come with that unofficial “job.” She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA with an applied music major in voice and a minor emphasis in elementary education. She has taught music both privately and in a school setting for the past 30 years. Jill has a deep place in her heart for those on the front lines of Christian ministry who are in need of a rest and encouragement.
Randy and Jill have experienced first-hand the ministry of spiritual encouragement and refreshment, and their love for Jesus and His servants has motivated them to show His love to others who are tired and hurting. Their desire is to provide a ministry of listening, loving and praying for those who are wounded or weary from their service, and also for those who know they need a time for spiritual rest and solitude to prevent burn-out. In 2011, the Lord opened the door for this vision to be fulfilled through the establishment of Forest Haven in the hills of New Hampshire.
A Message from Randy
Jill and I founded this small retreat center so that pastors and other Christian workers might have a beautiful place of peace and quiet where they can get away for a few days or a couple weeks to get reacquainted with God. When I burned-out in the mid-80’s, it was a week away at a retreat center in Connecticut that the Lord used to heal me. Ever since then, I’ve striven to anchor my ministry life in silence, solitude and prayer. I haven’t always been successful in doing so, but this is a core value of my life, and which we are hoping to share with pastors here at Forest Haven.
Statement of Faith
We affirm the historic faith of the universal church as summarized in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Further, we affirm the statement of faith of the Evangelical Association of Reformed & Congregational Christian Churches, which affirms:
The Trinitarian name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God has revealed Himself fully and decisively as attested in Holy Scripture. We believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. The Scriptures are the guide for faith and life.
There is only one way to Salvation – through Jesus Christ.
The sanctity of human life based on our creation in the image of God and our election by God for service in His Kingdom. This leads us to respectfully affirm sanctity at every stage of human life.
The Biblical guidelines for human sexuality: marriage as the union of one man and one woman, fidelity and holiness in marriage and chastity outside of marriage for the sake of the Kingdom.
That the mission of the Church is to spread the Good News of the Gospel of salvation in every word and deed. We are sent by Christ into all the world to proclaim the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to bring every person into a life of faith, discipleship and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We provide breakfast basics for the first few days you're here (e.g., milk, OJ, cereal, fruit, bagels or English muffins, etc.). There are also some canned goods (e.g., soups) available for your use in the cupboard.
We invite you to join us for dinner your first (or second) evening with us, so we can get acquainted and get a sense of how to pray for you while you are here.
If you are with us for several days or longer, the apartment kitchen is fully stocked with pots, pans, coffee maker, etc., so you'll be able to prepare your own meals. The nearest grocery stores (in Warner and Henniker) are twenty minutes away. The Bradford Market, a convenience store, is only five minutes away.
If you choose not to prepare your own lunches or dinners, there are several nearby dining options of varying prices. You will find a list of them in the apartment.
Grounds and Environs
We encourage you to enjoy our property while you are here. There are several acres of woods behind our home, which are perfect for short walks or winter snow-shoeing. A bench is there if you would like to sit awhile and listen to the birds. We like flowers, so you'll find plenty of them here from early spring through the first frost. There are several Adirondack chairs for your use as well.
Forest Haven is in a rural environment, and there are several options for one or two mile walks on nearby country roads. There are also some walking options on nearby Battles Farm, which is part of a local land trust.
A Quiet Place
The comment of Forest Haven's first guest says it all, "Randy, this place is quiet!" An important part of this "quiet" is the fact that we respect your privacy while you are here. We are available to pray and listen, but only at your request.
There is Wifi, but we very strongly urge you not to use it while you are here, as it too often is a major distraction from what God wants for you. Cell phone reception here is sketchy. We keep ours shut off while at home because of this. If you need to make a call, our landline is available to you.
When you arrive, the bed will be made, the apartment will have been cleaned, and there will be towels awaiting you in the bathroom. All we ask is that, at your departure, you remove the sheets and pillow cases from the bed, and place them by the door along with any used towels. There are containers under the sink in the kitchen for clean recyclables. If you need to do laundry during your visit, let us know.
The sign at the town line introduces Bradford as "The Gateway to Lake Sunapee," which is one of New Hampshire's major lakes and resort areas. There are many nearby hiking trails, museums, places to swim, and places to explore, such the gardens and grounds of The Fells. In Winter, there is skiing nearby. When you arrive, you will find a binder-full of maps, brochures and information to guide and inspire your explorations should you need a break. You will also find there a list of area restaurants.
What to Bring
The nearest grocery stores are twenty minutes away, so you may want to do your grocery shopping before you arrive here, especially if you have special diet needs or preferences.
Toiletries. We provide soap, shampoo and conditioner. Don't forget bug spray!
There is a small bookshelf filled with books we think you might find spiritually helpful. You may want to bring reading material with you that will encourage you in prayer and in your relationship with the Lord. You might consider bringing some relaxing light reading with you as well.
Feel free to bring a musical instrument, if that is an important part of your prayer and worship. (A guitar is available in the apartment.)
"This place is so lovely! Tastefully decorated (down to the leaf-covered tissue boxes!) and immaculately clean. It has obviously been prepared by caring hands expressing the love of Christ. Your devotion to Christ is seen in your offering such a haven to burdened and weary soldiers of Christ for their refreshment and encouragement. Thank you kindly for making your hospitality available to us… God be with you in this ministry."
- Pete and Sue Heilemann
"We are so blessed to have met you both and received your loving hospitality. It’s wonderful to have this place to come to for rest. Thank you for listening and obeying."
- Ted and Ibel Hartlett
"My wife and I needed a place to rest and recharge before resuming our ministry in the fall. Forest Haven provided just what we were looking for. The Thompsons are gracious hosts striking just the right balance between offering personal interaction on the one hand and leaving alone on the other. The accommodations are comfortable and the surrounding area full of life and beauty."
- Geoff and Bianca Little
"We want to thank you for the time we spent at your home. It was a very restful, peaceful and renewing time. Thank you Jill and Randy for not only providing a peaceful, quiet retreat but also for your hospitality, prayers and caring concern. God is blessing others through your ministry. May you be richly blessed in return."
- Sally A.
"We so want to thank you for our stay with you. I have thought about it often. Your call and gifting to give pastors a break is so wonderful– so appreciative–so godly."
- Dan and Crystal K.
"Forest Haven lived up to its vision–it was certainly a peaceful and restful place where I met the Lord in a fresh way. The Thompsons are wonderful hosts who blessed me with their loving welcome and hospitality as well as a delicious meal. Every little touch in the beautifully appointed apartment spoke of God’s grace and His care. I look forward to my next retreat here."
- Rob P.
"I’m excited about the ministry of Forest Haven and now having seen it personally, will be a banner-waver for you! And most importantly, I’ll be a prayer warrior with you. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality while I was in NH… it was a wonderful evening and so good to freshen our friendship"
- Gary B., PastorCare northeast
"What a wonderful experience I had this weekend! Your hospitality was authentic. I’ve enjoyed the food and fellowship tremendously. The environment within and without was pleasant and the suite was immaculate! I truly rested and enjoyed the reading resources. Thanks for letting God use you both in such a powerful way. I will be back and will recommend Forest Haven to my colleagues! I will continue to pray for the prosperity of your ministry."
- Pastor Andre Silvers, Grace and Mercy Ministries
"Thank you guys so much for this respite and for your warm hospitality and friendship. God’s blessing on your ministry to Him and to His servants!!!”
- David and Marcy A.
"Come apart and draw near to the Lord. The beautiful property draws one to his/her creator. The unit is beautiful. The books given point to Jesus. Don’t miss dinner, prayer and fellowship with Randy and Jill. God speaks through them in refreshing and encouraging ways."
- David A.