Church Life, Community, Students

Students & 20s Weekend Away 2019

Having attended last year’s Students & 20s Weekend Away, deciding whether or not to go this year was a no-brainer. Last year’s weekend away was a formative time for me – it helped me feel more settled in Jubilee as a church but also helped me get to know people better. During a term in which the stress levels were only increasing, the weekend was also a necessary time of relaxation and escape from Warwick campus and the student bubble. So, when I was asked by Josh back in October as to whether I would be up for helping to organise this year’s weekend away, I was happy to help and do what I could to make it as enjoyable of a time as it was for me.

On the first night, after a few of us had arrived a bit earlier to start on dinner and set up the main social area, everyone else started to arrive and swiftly threw their luggage in their bedrooms as dinner was about to be served and unsurprisingly, food was at the forefront of many of our minds. After we’d all finished dinner and helped with tidying up, it was time for one of Samuel Dean’s infamous quizzes, within which we were asked to answer many questions relating to various topics such as: Jubilee Church, national anthems, Postman Matt(hew Clarke), and of course the best topic of all, Wales. Post-quiz, some started heading to bed and others of us played some games and just chatted. This night was one of my personal highlights of the weekend as myself and a few others ended up staying up until around 2am chatting and getting to know one another. It’s for such times as these that I’m willing to neglect my sleeping patterns slightly, haha.

After various amounts of sleep, depending on who of us were most sensible, some of us started our Saturdays with a prayer meeting before we all joined together for a delicious breakfast lovingly prepared by our caterers for the weekend – Tim and Rosie (and sometimes Grace) Gordon. It was then time for the annual Coventry vs. Warwick football match, which let’s just say didn’t exactly result in the outcome Warwick were hoping for… Having said that, it was a lot of fun – despite the various [minor] injuries that occurred – and I’d say it most certainly helped challenge us to love our brothers and sisters as 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 calls us to. The rest of Saturday was filled with food, fellowship and a choice of various activities including a seminar by Paul on ‘How to keep your edge as a Christian’, a walk around the Frontier Centre’s surrounding fields, a photo scavenger hunt, and best of all, a campfire with roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate in the evening! As it was another particular highlight of my weekend, I’ve inserted below some photos of my notes from Paul’s seminar: though he was aiming the talk more generally at students and young adults, I think there’s huge value in all the pieces of advice he gave for people of all ages…

And then it was the last day *sigh*… Aside from tidying up, packing, and once again being fed to the brim with copious amounts of delicious food, Sunday included the next Upper Rooms service in our current series on Salt & Light. Along with a time of worship and prayer, we had a talk from Esther Brown on the practical ways in which we can help ourselves keep our ‘saltiness’ and avoid becoming purposeless. It was great that we were able to have our own kind of service as we were missing the one back at Jubilee. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that for me personally, this time of fellowship and encouragement was really helpful: as I prepared myself to get back into the university mindset, having my focus fixed on Jesus and being reminded to trust in Him brought me the peace I knew I would need as we returned from the weekend away and back to everyday life.

I hope I’ve shed some light upon the weekend we had and that even if you weren’t able to make it this year, you’ve felt like you were able to experience it vicariously through what you’ve read and are interested in coming along next year! But if you can’t wait that long, I highly recommend coming along to the Church Weekend Away (June 21-23) if you can make it! Take up all the opportunities you can to get stuck into the church and get to know the people who are a part of it – you won’t regret it 😊

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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

– Hebrews 10:24-25

Thanks for reading my first ever (but hopefully not my last) blog post!

Natalya 😊

(Featured Image courtesy of Ashley Drew)

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