Mrs DHG, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and I have just returned from a fantastic weekend away with our church family. We hadn’t been away like this with the boys before, so we were a wee bit apprehensive. But we needn’t have been. It was such a lovely time, being with those we love and cherish and who love and cherish us.
This ‘church weekend’ takes place every couple of years, with the past few being held at this beautiful place near Whitby. The weather couldn’t have been better – warm September sunshine from dawn to dusk all weekend.
The food was grand (let’s face it, just not having to prepare, cook, serve and wash-up for 48 hours was a blessing in itself!), and the accomodation was really quite comfy! All five of us were sleeping in the same room (another first!), but in actaul fact the room was almost split into two with the bathroom in the middle – so it felt more like having a small apartment! We all slept extremely well, and thankfully the fire alarm at 5.45 this morning didn’t sound in our building, so we slept through the roll call and visiting fire engine! There is a rumour circulating that the prayer coordinator was trying to boost numbers for the 8am meeting! He strongly denies this!
The teaching was both encouraging and challenging – a timely word from God, brought to us by this man, speaking straight into many of our church situations and things we’re working through as a body. The teaching was from Titus, and focussed on:
- authority in the church (what should we expect from our leaders / what should they expect from us as congregation?);
- believing (have we lost our impact as Christians? / do we really believe that Jesus is Lord, no matter whether others accept that or not)
- belonging (what does church community really look like / how can we nurture and encourage real community, involvement, getting stuck in when people are so busy / how does consumerism impact on how people feel about church);
- transforming (it’s all about people getting to know Jesus / having grace to understand that we’re all a work in progress / not expecting people to conform to our understanding of what a believer looks like, says, acts).
Yesterday afternoon we had time to relax – the DHG clan together with another family (boys aged 7 and 3) headed to nearby Grosmont where we boarded, according to Dibble, ‘Percy’ (this owing to the colour of the engine pulling our carriages!) ‘Percy’ pulled us up what I have been reliably informed is one of the steepest gradients in the world frequented by steam engines (1 in 49 by all accounts!). Dibble was enthralled by the clickety clack, the guard’s whistle and green flag, the smoke and steam. And the ice cream at Goathland (aka Hogsmeade for you Harry Potter fans / aka Aidensfield for you Heartbeat fans!).
So – a really good weekend. Very different (more dipping in an out of things, running after boys, playing at the playpark and wiping noses) than previous church weekends.
But a real blessing none-the-less.
It really is a privilige to spend quality time with family.