For the 42 who gathered together at Bassenfell Manor in the Lake District for our first Family Retreat, 2016 has got off to a very good start. The setting was beautiful, the facilities ideal, and the whole spirit of the weekend was a real blessing for all who attended.
Generally the Bible School might be better known for more in-depth study or specific training events, but this event was really quite different. The emphasis was very much on discipleship and our fellowship as followers of Jesus. There are times and places for serious Bible study and practical training, but this was a time and a place for spiritual reflection and renewal.
Families, couples, friends and singles converged from almost every direction to meet in what is a rather less-frequented corner of the Lake District. Overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake, the venue was both spacious and full of character – a very pleasant setting for a weekend such as this.
Our theme for the weekend was “Learning from the Teacher” … being disciples of Jesus in a post-Christian world. Through talks, discussion and drama, we explored a little of what it means to be followers of Jesus in a world that is no longer so familiar with his ways. We thought about a number of parables Jesus taught, and were reminded that we are first and foremost his disciples or followers. When we began our journeys with Jesus, we began by learning from him as our teacher, and so we should continue.
It was a real joy to see the family spirit of the love of Christ so evident throughout the weekend. Many brought along things to share for break times and desserts, and volunteers were always on hand to help set up tables for meals and clear and wash dishes once done. When Jesus is at the centre of our being, our lives will be lives of service to those around us.
The schedule allowed plenty of time for simply enjoying each other’s company or spending time alone in thought. Mealtimes were most pleasant and none had reason to go hungry with plenty of food served and choices available. The Saturday afternoon was free to explore the area and the weather remained fairly kind to us.
The evening of the Saturday afforded opportunity both for dramatic presentations and mental challenges. Everyone took part in what proved to be a thoroughly entertaining and educational series of sketches based on contemporary parables, with the children performing admirably. The creativity was truly impressive as we sought ways of communicating simple truths of the kingdom of Christ in modern settings.
Plans are being put in place for next year’s event, but spaces are likely to be in high demand. Please look out for details here on our web site. We are already looking forward to seeing all who are able to be with us then.