About Us

Who and what we are

The Society of Mary and Martha is the name of the registered charity. It was founded by Carl Lee in 1987 and is completely independent. Our roots are Anglican and our practice and outlook is ecumenical. 

Sheldon is the name of the property where we live and move and have our being. It was a working farm until 1967 and we bought it for the Mary and Martha ministry in 1991. It has a cluster of lovingly converted farm buildings and 45 acres of fields and woodlands. It's tucked away at the end of  a no-through road in the Teign Valley, but easily accessible from Exeter. 

Sheldon is run by a resident lay Christian Community assisted by staff and volunteers. We have a board of trustees for the legal bits and patrons who lend their names. Check out this section for lots of links about Sheldon's people, including opportunities to belong and get involved. 

Our specialist work is to support people in Christian ministry, especially at times of stress, crisis, burnout or breakdown. This rather discreet aspect of our work sits within a much more broadly based retreat and education resource open to everyone. We are an open and welcoming retreat house, committed to being fully inclusive. Individual guests sign up to the special Rules of our House and groups benefiting from Sheldon are asked to respect the place and respect the needs of those with whom it is shared.

Our founding story centres around Jesus' encounters with Mary, Martha and Lazarus - rich stories which continue to challenge and inspire us today.

Sheldon slideshow