Time To Play // Church Weekend 2017 Reviews


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Back in February we filled Wokefield Park hotel, just outside of Reading, for a weekend as a church to grow in the Spirit, worship God and connect as a community. A few of those who attended shared their thoughts on their experience to give you a bit of the flavour of what we got up to.

“Our family had so much fun at the church weekend, it was such a great time of being able to relax and talk with our friends and get to know people without the time pressures of a usual meeting. It was with some apprehension that we dropped our three year old off at his group on the first morning, fully expecting to spend the rest of the weekend taking turns on the floor playing with toys and missing out on the teaching sessions as had been the pattern of every Sunday service for the past three years. As we sat in the final Sunday meeting we turned to each other hardly able to believe it – we had both been able to attend every meeting and enjoy all of the evening sessions. Both our children had quite remarkably settled well in their groups for the entire time.”

“A huge thank you to all of the team, especially those staff and volunteers who facilitated the early years groups and the evening baby monitoring service. This was such a blessing and a real treat to be able to be refreshed and engaged in the meetings knowing our children were well cared for. We both found the teaching on sharing our faith really valuable – and were particularly challenged by Bishop Graham’s exercise on the Sunday morning contrasting the way we easily talk about our other passions and hobbies with the way we all to often try to make discussion of our faith sound theologically correct and therefore deeply awkward and uninviting rather than natural and genuine.”

// Jon, Sharon, Sam & Reuben King

 

“I normally teach on a Saturday and the past two Church weekends away I have gone back into London and taught. Each time I have been disappointed to have missed the main part of the teaching but this year I felt the Lord say to me ‘You need to be at the whole weekend!’ So I got someone to cover my teaching and came for the whole thing. I came with an expectant heart to meet with him and I was not disappointed.”

“I have been feeling a need to re-connect and be re-enthralled with Jesus, which was the word coming through on the Friday night. This re-connection took place through different people at different times during prayers. One in the break on Saturday where I broke down in tears just chatting to someone over a coffee, but amazingly my dear sister offered to pray for me and the Lord ministered his comfort, love and different perspective to me in that moment. Amazingly I didn’t feel embarrassed at crying or aware of anyone else thinking what’s going on with her. How amazing to be so accepted and loved by my church family.”

“I found the weekend so engaging and accessible and it has re-ignited a passion in me for Jesus which I am so thankful for. Colin’s traffic light signal really spoke to me and was very freeing. And the Bishop’s challenge in whatever we share if we have passion and communicate it then people will naturally be interested to find out more. ”

“So, on Monday off I went to work and my colleague Joe came into the classroom and asked ‘ How was your weekend?’ Through my response he asked more questions and I was able to share, he was interested and even shared a time when he had been to a monastic community five years ago. I thought afterwards maybe he’s an amber light!”

// Rosie Gordon-Smith

 

“All four of us had been looking forward to the weekend away and it didn’t disappoint. A lovely location, fine food, a chance to catch up with friends old and new, all before the backdrop of inspiring and challenging teaching made for a memorable time.”

“Colin Crawley’s talks were accessible, practical, direct and sometimes uncomfortable, but offered new insight into a subject most of us would probably admit to having difficulties with: sharing our faith. His traffic light system and basic conversation techniques for testing how ready people are to hear the gospel (‘Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?’) seemed so straightforward and logical it seemed surprising we hadn’t come across teaching like that before.”

“His subsequent evening training sessions were also excellent in terms of expanding and deepening the points he had introduced, with everyone encouraged to put what they had learnt into practice.”

“Bishop Graham Tomlin rounded off the weekend superbly on the Sunday morning with an encouraging message calling on us to be God’s ambassadors in the places he has put us – the perfect end to the conversation Colin had started.”

“We felt a distinct sense of loss going back to work once it was all over. This probably wasn’t the desired outcome given the teaching we’d been receiving, but it was testament to what a great weekend it had been.”

// Andy, Sarah, Ben and Finn Ricketts