Thursday, 10 November 2011

Retreats - Youth Assembly - Epworth Old Rectory

There couldn’t be more of a contrast between a Silent Retreat and Youth Assembly but my journey has taken me from one to the other during this past fortnight. I’m so glad that a retreat (or two!) was strongly recommended as part of my Presidential Year and three days at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire provided a haven for reading, walking, thinking, praying, worshipping, reflecting and sleeping in equal measure and it was an enriching time. Strange to be walking in the beautiful countryside in short sleeves in November though!

Youth Assembly didn’t provide much of the sleeping mentioned above - I thought 5.00am was nearer the time to get up than fall asleep! But it did provide an opportunity to meet and talk to so many children and young people (some around 5th November bonfire!) and be excited about what God is doing in their lives. The depth of commitment to the way of Christ was palpable and the sharing in worship on the Sunday, especially at Communion, was a profound experience. How our church needs to cherish and encourage these folk and all who mentor them for what gifts and insights they have to share with us if we are open to receive.

I enjoyed my visit to Epworth Old Rectory very much as I hadn’t been there for a number of years since I used to take Confirmation groups. I was particularly interested to learn how mission and spirituality are at the centre of their future plans for re-furbishment and expansion - a living and life-giving history if you like. Yet it is surprising how comparatively few Methodists have been and some have never even heard of it! Anyone for a coach trip?

To London next for the Remembrance Sunday Service at The Cenotaph. A silent part in more ways than one but an honour to be there. The military theme continues next week with two days spent with the Army and its Chaplains on Salisbury Plain. Hope its as warm and dry as it was at Launde Abbey!

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