Weekend Away Belsey Bridge - June/July 2018
29 June-1 July 2018 – Photos
See an account of the weekend below.
Weekend with the Bishop
A weekend in beautiful Suffolk countryside with the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev’d Stephen Cottrell, was enjoyed under cloudless skies by about 100 people, including a number of children and young people, from the Saffron Warden and villages area. Most stayed for the whole weekend although some attended only for a day. They came from nine churches in the Saffron Walden and Villages Team: Ashdon, Great Chesterford, Debden, Hadstock, Littlebury, Saffron Walden, Sewards End, Wendens Ambo and Wimbish.
Bishop Stephen said, “The reason such parish weekends are so important and precious is that not only do they bring people together with each other but also with God. They involve a lot of fun and learning in a short space of time.”
The topic for the weekend was the Beatitudes, eight blessings or sayings from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, all starting with “Blessed are …” and encapsulating some of Jesus’ very counter-intuitive teaching, the first being: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
The Bishop said, “One of the ways of understanding the Beatitudes are that they are a description of what it means to be a child of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, they are also a description of Jesus Christ, who shows by his life what the Beatitudes mean. By exploring the Beatitudes, we learn how to live a Jesus-shaped life.”
As well as morning and evening prayer each day and teaching by the Bishop, the weekend included workshops ranging from drama to gospel music, poetry writing to watercolour painting, and survival techniques to a meditative trail around the conference centre contemplating the natural and man-made environment. There were also other events including a campfire singsong and a moving session of silent worship led by the Bishop, mirroring the stages of a communion service. The weekend culminated in a holy communion service led by the Rector incorporating input from the workshops.
Summing up the weekend, the Rector David Tomlinson said, “We had a great time together, sharing God’s love and learning to live out our faith in Jesus Christ. The weekend included prayer, worship, swimming, a camp fire, a quiz, a beetle drive, great food, and lots of fun and laughter. Being a Christian community, enjoying each other’s company and celebrating God’s presence, made for an enjoyable and memorable event.”
The parishes of the Saffron Walden and Villages Team Ministry seek to collaborate together in shared ventures, such as this Weekend Away, to support and encourage each other, to pool resources and to enjoy sharing in God’s love together.