Weekly Update – 7th April

Looking Back….
In a move that is most unlike me, I’m writing this week’s ‘waffle’ incredibly early (it’s Easter Monday!). As a member of the ‘leave it til the last minute and inspiration will come – hopefully’ brigade, this is putting me somewhat outside of my comfort zone.

Which sent my mind meandering…..

In 2018, I was one of a number of St Nics and St Andrews who were lucky enough to go to Spring Harvest in Butlins, Minehead. Spring Harvest is an inter-denominational evangelical conference and gathering (not something that had ever been on my radar before, and not something that I would have ever considered going to on my own!). But as a group of over 50, and with St Nics being extremely generous and funding the places for those under 18, once Easter was ‘done’, the car was packed and off the children and I went.

Once at Butlins (wow, they’re huge places), having signed in, collected keys and found accommodation, we all gathered together for a few words from Rev Chris and then we were free to explore. There was so much to do. All the Butlins attractions were open (swimming/crazy golf/arcades/amusement rides..) and in addition there were the Spring Harvest events. Every day, not only were there services taking places at various times, but a full line up of speakers that covered so many topics aimed at all difference age groups. I was able to attend sessions on coping with teenagers, dealing with anger issues, what it means to be a church administrator, mindfulness and finding God in a digital age. Honestly, if it could have lasted two weeks so that the events didn’t clash, I still wouldn’t have run out of events that I wanted to attend. And they had Spring Harvest TV, so if you weren’t up and dressed early enough in the morning to make it to the service, you could join in from your accommodation, or if you needed to retreat from the hustle and bustle at any point in the day, you could still tune in. How inclusive.

Now I’m not very ‘evangelical’ and there were occasions when I found things a bit overwhelming, as did the children, but being on ‘holiday’ away from everyday life, surrounded by people who were there because of God, opened opportunities for conversation that I don’t think would have happened otherwise. In fact, we still have conversations that start with ‘do you remember at Spring Harvest when..’ Not all the conversations were directly about God and our faith, some (many) were completely random. But we did talk, and that’s good.

I’ve been looking back at some of the photos taken (they’re in the Gallery on St Nics website if you want to see). Quite a few of the people who made up the group aren’t at St Nics anymore; either moved away, are worshipping elsewhere, retired (!!), or are taking a break from church for whatever reason; but much like Fiona’s work welcoming the school children into church leaves them with a sense of belonging, of St Nics being ‘their’ church, I think having been to Spring Harvest has left a (positive) mark on all of us, a shared experience that I feel draws us closer to each other as it draws us closer to God. And in a world that increasingly tries to divide (work hours/smart phones/tv…) that has to be good.