Parish Weekend by Gill and Matt Clarey.
Blue skies, brilliant sunshine – what a wonderful start to our weekend in South Devon! We arrived early on Friday, so decided to visit nearby Watcombe. We sat on the beach for a while, taking in the tranquillity, and listening to the waves lapping against the rocks. It felt good to be away from life’s trappings.
After a lot of puffing and panting (we’re both rather unfit), we walked back to the car and drove on to Brunel Manor. We were given the same room as for our honeymoon 3 years ago!
The buffet supper was much appreciated and it was lovely to meet up with everyone in a relaxed and informal setting, after which a few of us gathered around the TV for the England World Cup match.
The next day we went off to explore the surrounding area; we found a quaint little pub with a picturesque garden and all met up for dinner, when we chatted about the day’s events.
Sunday arrived all too quickly and after breakfast, everyone went to the worship service, including some other visitors who were staying independently at Brunel. It was good for us all to be together, praising the Lord and praying for all those back home.
The teenagers provided us with a humorous sketch with their ‘Gods’ of politics, fashion, barbecues etc. Andrew Leakey, who led the whole weekend, gave the talk and Robert kindly prayed for Matt and me and our marriage. We came out into the sun happy and full of renewal, and knew that we didn’t want to leave. The weekend had passed all too quickly.
A big thank-you to everyone, from the bottom of our hearts.
Gill and Matt Clarey.
I found the weekend so peaceful and healing, having suffered with pain for over a year, even since my op, suddenly all pain went and now I can eat food without feeling sick. There was so much Holy Spirit at work amd so much love. It was nice to get to know people better most of all the young ones, we laughed a lot. If you have never been on a parish weekend I suggest you try the next one.
Robert say’s – our thanks to God for all that took place. Many were refreshed, restored both through the natural rhythm of taking rest, and the supernatural work of God’s Holy Spirit. There was a great gentleness about all that happened and we come back more convinced of God’s love for us. At 10.25 am last Sunday, those away prayed for those here; and those leading here did the same for us away at the same moment!
I went to the weekend hoping for more of what I received last time, instead I found God talking to me through the Bible and what was being said. At the end of the weekend I felt as though my life had been stirred up and new things would happen as I let the Holy Spirit work in me. Since coming back I have found that the Holy Spirit still talking to me and encouraging me. You will find more of my thoughts on my website. http://chrisbrann.wordpress.com/
Praise God for his grace and mercy even when we don’t deserve it.
From my web site.
I went on this weekend trusting that God would bless me as he did 3 years ago, that he would teach me and use me. All 3 happened but as usual with God not as I expected. The trip started with me in a strop over the packing and the amount the others coming with me had. However by the time we arrived at Sidmouth, I had calmed down. We enjoyed walking along the shore and taking photos in the sunshine even if it was clouding over as we did so. We then moved on to Brunel Manor and after we had unpacked into our lovely room, with no TV or radio and no internet for the whole weekend, I had even left my laptop behind so as not to be distracted. I had a snooze for an hour or so to recharge a bit, then we had a walk round the grounds before dinner. After dinner we had the first session, Andrew used the time after Roberts’s introduction and worship to tell stories of God’s goodness, stories of healing and restoration, stories of God doing more than we could think off or ask for. I told about how God had even found a use for my gaming gifts, when another Church Army minister e-mailed me out of the blue and asked for advice about setting up a group to play Warhammer at his church. It was just so amazing, just the night before we were to travel down for the weekend I had this e-mail and then a phone conversation with Geoff the second time in a month God had used by gaming skills to help others in ministry. I said how God could use even the smallest and oddest of gifts and we will never know just when they will be of use to Him. After that we played a game, 9 of us playing Rapidoe, such a laugh we even got asked to hold the noise down a little as we were outside as many had gone to bed. Bern and I then went back to our room and after my shower we prayed together in bed, the first time in a long time. I do not know how or why we stopped, mainly my fault in getting distracted and going to bed long after her. Lord why have I allowed other things to get between our relationship as a couple and you.
Saturday, two morning sessions after breakfast, a very nice breakfast I should add. Before breakfast I was reading my bible and was caught by this passage.
I’ve been carrying you on my back
from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
carrying you on my back, saving you.
The sessions were more about God’s great goodness, looking at how much he loves us, how good he created each of us, how we were created to be with Him and work together. I shared the reading about how he has been looking after each of us since we were born and will continue to do so to the end of our days. Others also shared stories and passages of scripture which just reinforced this whole line, God cares for and loves us no matter what and that Jesus dies so that we could be redeemed so that God could continue to love us. I was finding the sessions a struggle in some places but the worship was just so uplifting. Between the two sessions I talked to Andrew about the interruptions in his flow but he was very easy about it even though I found them annoying. Why did I find others breaking his flow a distraction? I think, looking back, because it wasn’t me interrupting. Now why had I got to such a point that I thought I needed to be saying something? Lord forgive me for my presumption, for my arrogance, it should always be what you are doing and not what I might think. Again I do not understand how I have got here, I have always wanted it to be what the Spirit is doing, so why was I getting annoyed?
After lunch virtually all of them headed off in different directions for the afternoon and I was left alone as no one took up my offer of time to pray and read the bible together. After falling asleep for a while I woke up and went outside to read my bible and found one other left behind and we had a long chat. It was really nice to just talk one on one to share some life stories and to hear about her travels and work. After a few hours she went to have a sleep and I went in to read and pray. I again ended up with a couple of passages just talking to me and they were where I stuck.
You who use God’s name to back up your promises
and pray to the God of Israel?
But do you mean it?
Do you live like it?
10-11Who out there fears God,
actually listens to the voice of his servant?
For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going,
anyone groping in the dark,
Here’s what: Trust in God.
Lean on your God!
In answer to the question’s, in the first section, I wrote yes, to do you mean it and no, to do you live it. I know I believe and I always have since God saved me, I used to live it when did I stop?
When I became a Christian, I was told there would be valleys and mountain tops, but I never really believed it. Now I do, you can slip into a valley of darkness without even noticing. God notices and tries to check you but you keep sliding and ignore Him until you can only see Him dimly and hardly remember that you used to see him brighter. I suppose it’s a bit like long term bad health, you forget what being healthy is really like you just have a dim memory.
After tea we had the evening session, although it was optional nearly everyone was there as well as a few extras staying at the hotel. Andrew carried on after a little worship about God being “gooder” than we can believe and a few more stories about Him acting in peoples lives. He then wanted people to tell about their prayer / God needs and Robert talked about his desire to see the Mac project work and some of us prayed into it. Then I shared about the first passage I had struggled with during the afternoon, I poured out how I felt that I had fallen from God because of the sins in my life. I can not remember all that I cried out but it was from my heart or even God’s heart for me. It was about my need to return to the right path. As I spoke so Andrew and then others came and prayed for my health and for me. They asked God to bless me and heal me. I felt a real peace from God and his spirit within me; I knew yet again that God just loved me no matter what. I did not feel like the last time a healing in my system but a real peace instead. Someone, Bev, said God wanted me to be more childlike, a strange thing as most people think I am quite a child in many ways. Also Andrew I think felt God saying he would continue to use me in different ways just as I am. God is so great I had strayed and yet he was blessing me, thinking about it as I write its just like the prodigal son, I had gone off my own way and spent my blessings and needed to return to the one who really loves me.
After being really blessed I prayed for a couple of others feeling God blessing me as He blessed them through me. I will never totally understand how He does that or why but he does. In the end I was one of the last four to leave the room after over 3 hours at around 11pm. Bern and I went to find the others and found some of them grouped together talking, we joined them for about an hour and then full of peace I headed to bed and slept really well.
Sunday, I awoke feeling really good, full of God’s peace and grace. After breakfast we had our Sunday worship, Robert wanted some photos so I had my camera in tow as well. After a good time of praise Andrew spoke again, he asked for people to tell about how the weekend had been for them and a few people spoke, then he continued his talk. As he did so I just felt a wave of pain and discomfort sweep over me, I realised it was not my pain when it quickly went and I saw Anita with God stood behind her, I knew I had to pray for His healing for her as she was suffering. So when we got to a point a little further into the service I went over to her and started to pray. God just so blessed her dealing with some personal stuff as well as physical things.
So, after this time with God where am I now?
Well I know I must make more effort to find time to pray.
I must make an effort not to be distracted by the world during the day and make time to spend with God.
I must get back into working for God and living what I believe.
Today Monday I was in hospital again for treatment and Mike the atheist from an earlier blog was there looking really bad. I knew I had to ask him if I could pray for him. His wife and he both said yes and so I did pray for him in my spirit while we both sat in the ward. I know God will bless him as I have done what he asked of me.
What a weekend, what a great God, what a God who is “gooder” than we can ever believe or conceive.
The week-end at Brunel Manor was a real time of refreshment mentally, physically and spritually.It was good to get away from every-day distractions and relax.
God met with us in many different ways – He is ‘gooder’ than we think and always in a good mood (as Andrew Leakey who led us put it)!! Praise Him!
The weekend at Brunel was exactly what I needed, as I was really exhausted when I arrived because of the rush and scrabble of daily life generally. Throughout this year I have discovered more and more of God’s love for me, shown to me in many ways, and at the weekend I learned that He never views me in a critical and negative light, as many people have done, but in a positive light as a loving Father. I do not have to struggle hard to make Him love me, – He already does!