Re:Claim

Well it’s certainly been a fun-packed weekend at Wessex Camp! I attended as a guest but also to help lead one of the ‘streams’ for the young people. There are 3 streams for 11-18s to pick. They follow one throughout the weekend and each one picks apart a different area of the theme ‘Re:claim’, mainly focussing on the Passover Festival. Highly appropriate during this year’s Feasts & Festivals. There were campfires, BBQs, crazy songs, outdoor activities, hot chocolate, THE LOT!

It was a truly magnificent weekend and it was so good to see so many young people from all areas of Wessex Synod (and beyond, we had 2 from France!) gather together, all on various points in their faith journey, always asking questions, always eager to learn, it was a truly wonderful sight and it was a huge gift to be there and also to lead worship on the Saturday night…

I was charged with leading the ‘Praise Party’ and we looked at the Wedding in Cana and The Parable of the Feast. We played some typical party games you’d expect in Cana… Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Heads & Tails! And explored who we personally want to invite to the table. In Cana it was said by the master of the banquet that Jesus saved the best wine until last (it is, and was, typical for the cheap stuff to be served last, if you’re under-18, ask your mum and dad why!). That is very true of our lives, and indeed relationship with God. Often we’ll go through storms in life, and think that there’ll be no end to suffering. But God always pulls it out of the bag! God really is the best till last. This is perhaps a difficult thing to think about because God is the first AND the last! Either way, he’s certainly the best. The ‘Praise Party’ was a true celebration but also included time for reflection, and time for thinking about others.

Throughout the weekend we explored the meaning of the Passover Festival, particularly the Seder meal. This is something that hits home to me simply because I learned about this during my preparation to becoming a member at my church, so has a personal meaning. Nevertheless it was great to revisit it and explore with the 11-18s what this meant to them, boy, they come out with some insightful things!

It was an important reminder to us all of the significant similarities we have with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and, as the saying goes, there is far more in common than that which divides us. It was great to see the young people’s eyes open to the fact that the last supper was indeed a Passover! It was truly valuable to learn the ins and outs of this area of the Jewish faith.

The camp also included a stream for 18-25s, called ‘R12’ (Romans 12). They explored the theme a little closer and this group also took on vital leadership and example-setting roles during the camp, they were integral to the running of the camp, just as much as the Over-26s. This was wonderful to see, so many young people, some of whom I knew when they first started at Assembly, grow into mature adults and take on important roles. The future is bright, URC!

I can thoroughly recommend the camp to anyone. The invitation is open beyond Wessex Synod youth, it is simply run by them!

So my hat is off to the wonderful Wessex SYE, Camp Planning team (shoutout to lifelong ‘FURY’ pals James and Alison!), Phil Ray and Ruth White (Wessex CYDOs) and to Claire Downing (Wessex Synod Moderator) for running around a table at the party like a penguin!

In the diary over the coming months:

July

  • Head of Children’s and Youth Work Interviews.

August

  • I will attend one day of the Quakers’ Junior Yearly Meeting
  • I will attend a 24-hour residential in Cumbria focussing on Missional Discipleship in Young People.
  • I will lead worship at Edgeley Community Church.
  • I will attend Greenbelt Festival running the URC Youth programme and URC Communications.
  • I will attend a speed awareness course- oops, wrong blog!!

September

  • I will chair the penultimate meeting of URC Youth Executive
  • I will attend a meeting of the Assembly Arrangements Committee
  • I will attend the celebration service of the centenary of Constance Coltman’s Ordination.
  • I will attend the re-opening ceremony and blessing of the refurbished Church House, and meet delegates from Chang-Hua Christian Hospital in Taiwan.

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