[wooslider slideshow_speed=”5.0″ playpause=”true” slider_type=”attachments” limit=”7″ thumbnails=”default”] A second Emerge weekend when twenty six of us travelled down to East Susses and another amazing opportunity to meet with God.
This year’s theme was on “Desires, fears and discovering your true self” and we looked together at how we are bombarded by images of the ‘body beautiful’ but how about the ‘spirit beautiful’? We looked at how spiritual disciplines are the equivalent of physical exercise and how they help us to develop our personality, character and soul. We saw that many of these spiritual exercises can act as antidotes to the way that we are manipulated by the media and those around us.
The weekend started before arriving when we asked people to prepare for the weekend. There was some reading to be done and we suggested people to fast for the day (whole or partial) and quite a few did so! The first evening was always going to be a fluid affair given the need for some to travel after work (and thanks to an unnamed person for not being able to find the entrance to Waterloo East station and missing the train!). Our first session looked at prayer and reflection where we reflected on over hundred pictures put up around the main room.
The second day started by using an ancient Christian spiritual exercise called the Lectio Divina – which is a great way of having lots of people reflect on a passage of scripture. We all looked at a passage together (in this case chapters 3 & 4 of the book of Jonah) and then had three different chances of what God might be telling us through the passage. It was a really profound session for many. We then looked at Lament and Discontent and saw how these enable us to lament over injustice and helplessness and from there to discover how we can react to them in a way to bring healing.
After an afternoon break (during which people went for a walk or a swim – or a rest!) Chris Willis helped us use drama to look at the discipline of self-examination – this ended up with floating origami boats on the swimming pool (which were forgotten in the drama of the evening and because some had sunk to the bottom of the pool had to be dived in for!)
Drama was also provided for us on Saturday evening by the weather. This time we didn’t have a snow storm to stop us getting there, but we did have a major power cut on Saturday evening during the drama session by Chris! Presumably the same storm that brought trees down in Wallington disrupted the power at the Oasts (in fact we were told by staff that the lane we were down was blocked by a fallen tree!). So for most of the Saturday evening we used candles to light the place and wondered if we would be able to have heating, hot water or hot meals! More importantly, like the snow storm the previous year, it helped to create a real bond amongst us and enabled a beautiful time of worship.
With the electricity restored about 10pm we were able to hold our onesie party – your dear minister “lent” his to another young adult and was devastated not to wear it! You will see in the pictures below the sterling efforts made by some members in our karaoke part of the evening. We also had moments of fun like the video clip below where a team building task was given to different groups to transport a marble in a pringles box from one side of the room and to tip it into another pringle box without moving your feet!
The Oasts, where we went, is a brilliant place to be hold a medium size group for a weekend away. With 26 of us it was an ideal size for us to use. It is set in beautiful countryside and has its own chapel, great facilities – and even an indoor heated swimming pool! It was a time when Emerge could bond together and grow in faith. One of the many beautiful moments was when everyone was given the opportunity to write something on a stone that God was prompting them about and to build a small stone pile as we reflected on the passage from 1 Peter 2 about coming as living stones to be built into a spiritual house.
It was a wonderful faith enhancing weekend and there was a commitment by those there to seek to grow in their faith. For that the rest of the church also needs to encourage and support them in the days ahead.
Pictures from the weekend (click on a slide to see the slideshow):