Camping is not everyone’s idea of fun but the weekend of 20th – 22nd May will be the church camp again. Sadly stalled for the last two years due to Covid it will be good to gather again in a field just outside Buckfastleigh. The current weather states that there will be a bit of rain on Friday but thereafter it should be dry! Sleeping under canvas on an air bed, with the facilities a walk away across the field couldn’t be a bigger contrast to the luxury of home. It makes me shiver even thinking about some of the camping experiences I have had, either with family growing up, cub and scout camps or taking our own family. From each experience there has been a tale to tell, and no doubt our weekend away will be no exception.
Yet despite its downsides there is also great joy in camping. I personally love waking up on a morning with the sun shining through the canvas and hearing nothing but nature and campers starting the day. The other joys for me is gathering on an evening, possibly huddled around a fire, warming yourself with a hot drink before you turn in for the night. The togetherness and listening of those evenings over the years have been some of the best. Attending Taize many years ago is remembered not so much about the worship or the talks, but the sense of community and shared responsibility for food provision and washing up all outside. The diversity of nationalities were together for one purpose.
So we will each leave our comforts at home for 48 hours and gather in a field. Whilst some of the congregation will be meeting at the Mint for worship and the conclusion of our series on Wesley, we will be meeting outside, in a field and worshipping God. We will bring our experience over the previous days, the walks, the interactions, the food, the sleep or lack of it, and offer it to God in a time of worship.
Once we return on Sunday and pack away all our tents etc. in our sheds, we will come back changed. Maybe a bit damp, tired and sore from sleeping on the floor. However I hope that we will also have grown and learnt from the experience of discipling together and thankful that we could worship God in the beauty of our wonderful surroundings.
If people want to book in for next year I’m happy to donate a tent!