Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Wine North

This year this Christian gathering in tents/caravans (apart from cowards in B&Bs) was held at the Newark & Notts showground. That's north if you're from Watford, south if you're from Durham, and familiar east midlands if, like me, you're from Nottingham.

Immediate comments:

Weather baking hot again (apart from the thunderstorm). Peatmans are getting a reputation for bringing good weather to NW gatherings. It was brilliant, if a bit exhausting.

Excellent time with church. You can't beat camping for a week with a load of people from church as a way of getting to know everyone much better. Only something like New Wine would provide the incentive to persuade most of them to do it.

Toilets plunged new depths. (quite proud of that tabloid-esque headline) I don't expect luxury, but a mobile wagon with a urinal not visible from outside would be nice. Apparently some people even had hot running water! Luckily there were better loos elsewhere on site.

Teaching patchy. Isn't it always at these things? Well, yes. Graham Cray did very good sessions on eschatology*, and the main morning Bible readings on Ephesians had good moments, although speaker tended to shout a bit too much. (and one morning diverted onto an evangelistic address based on John 19). The evening sessions were very variable, and at one point contained some interesting Christology* that wouldn't have passed at Chalcedon*. With such a large clientele, I just think it's important to seize the opportunity and you need to get those things right.

Chips with everything. could describe the diet on offer from the small number of food vans on-site. They were also let down with regard to an on-site shop, so fresh milk & other perishables were only enjoyed by those with refridgeration or in limited form later on.

The phrase was also once used by a high-church priest complaining about the prevalence of Diocesan* and Deanery* meetings including communion. Despite his theological preferences for communion daily, he felt this slavish adherence demeaned something important. Chips with everything sprang to mind again at New Wine, as lots of meetings seemed to find it hard to resist a 'time of ministry' (ie invocation of the Holy Spirit and offer of prayer/laying-on hands) at the end. I went to one session on bereavement, and the leaders bravely didn't offer such a time, although they did encourage people to stay and talk and pray if they wished. They acknowledged the need for some quiet reflection.

The work of the Spirit isn't a routine or a ritual, and yet, oddly, those very churches which claim to be spontaneous create their own new rituals with 'times of ministry'.

Excellent kids programme. Ok it does seem to involve a lot of revolting games with goo, food, etc. However, our kids love it, and if that means Christianity is a positive experience for them at this age, I'm more than happy. Jonathan (12) went to worship songwriting workshop for his age group, so look out for the album at Soul Survivor in 2012.

Radio. Following an appearance on New Wine Radio at Shepton Mallet 2 years ago on a late night 'grumpy old Christian men' type slot, I had fun with Dunx from our church who was running programmes this time. We did a spoof thought for the day from Reverend Lovejoy (Simpsons). Seemed to go down well with our group. No idea if anyone else was awake/listening/amused.

Pastoral. I always struggled to do this on CYFA Ventures, as I busied myself with the running of things. With no running to do (apart from a hike to the car park and drive to supermarket periodically) it was great to have so many conversations about almost anything. Maybe all this Chaplaining has helped.

Waitrose. Newark's got one. Result.

So, I don't like camping, and I still struggle with the "am I a charismatic or did I make it up" type questions, but it was still a week well spent.

*sorry about the technical theological speak. Kept the length down. Happy to provide a translation on request


Emma said...

Chalcedon, what is it? Read that sentence a few times and it still didn't make any sense the 4th time around without understanding this word!!

The kids work was indeed amazing, I'm even wearing my Rock Solid t-shirt today now I've got the sweaty smell out...!!! Besides which it's baltic enough to wear a black t-shirt at the moment, brrr.

Mike said...

Council of Chalcedon. Agreed in the year 451 on a statement of how Jesus was human and divine. It especially sought to find a wording that ruled out all heretical alternatives.

To give you the techinical bit:
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

So there you have it.

Emma said...

Cheers, I can see why leaving out the explanation in the blog shortened it...!!!

St said...

I may have to go to New Wine next year. Can we form a support group?

Mike said...

The best tactic to adopt for sanity is that used by all revolutionary movements in Africa:take over the radio station. I have volunteered for next year, and my suggestion was to run a magazine programme keeping people up to date with what the (secular) newspapers are reporting.

Matthew said...

Sad my church doesn't go? Nah!!

Mike said...

Not surprised at that response, Matthew! The question is where in the life and pattern of your church can that amount of conversation, reflection and engagement with matters of faith and belief be created.

Matthew said...

A little place called Walsingham! ;)
in the pub after choir practice