Elizabeth Napora writes:
Not to be outdone by our wonderful youth at St John’s, we ladies had our first ever weekend away at Arbroath on 11 – 13 May. Although expecting relatively inclement weather, we were surprised and delightedly blessed by glorious sunshine for the whole of Saturday.
The focus for our group of 40 females was ‘You Are Free – Be Who You Already Are’ taken from the book by Rebekah Lyons, and our sessions included teaching from Rebekah via her DVD with valuable subjective observations from Lorna McIntosh, and a session led by Viv Willet on a subject very close to her heart. We also had times of praise and worship beautifully facilitated by Rebekah McNinch and Judith Gray. There was time for reflection, discussion and prayer, followed by coffee and, of course, the mandatory cake!
Apart from the more organised sessions, we also had time for fun and games. One group ventured out on a six mile cliff top walk taking in panoramic views of the sprawling sea, deserted coves and rolling fields, whilst others engaged in more peaceful artistic pursuits back at the Centre. Yet another crew had a short ramble in the town with a visit to a coffee shop, and a further group took up Lorna’s Charity Shop Challenge which later involved the whole 40 strong cohort in an evening competition! We amused ourselves late into the night with group games giving way to much hilarity!
We had evening as well as daytime teaching sessions which were thought provoking and inspirational. Viv gave a talk on how in many countries across the globe, numerous women and girls face untold suffering for reasons of poor / lacking education, subjugation, brutality, forced prostitution, people trafficking, forced marriages and isolation due to a lack of healthcare to name but a few. She and Lorna are in the process of birthing a group where we, as women who live in freedom and relative safety, can explore ways to reach out and offer support to our global sisters who have so much less than we do. Currently the group is in its embryonic phase but already there are many who have expressed an interest to be involved.
After each session Ruth Cameron, who is an avid reader of Christian books, gave a précis of books she found had helped her to develop and grow spiritually. She brought a large collection of them to the weekend and encouraged us to browse ‘n’ borrow.
Lorna and Ruth organised and led the whole weekend including the catering and washing up. As a group we were moved by their dedication and selflessness and appreciated their considerate personal touches; bookmarks hidden under our dinner plates with individually chosen scripture verses printed on the back, heart shaped chocolates on our pillows on our final night, space to relax, chat and pray, and time to forge new friendships and deepen existing ones.
We were struck by the number of people who were praying for us during our time away together; our church family, the manager and staff at the Windmill Centre and, having written to Rebekah Lyons regarding the theme for our ladies’ weekend, Ruth heard back from the author with the message that she and her staff were also praying for us. How wonderful!
Here is a selection of some of our thoughts about the time spent at Arbroath:
- “A wonderful weekend”
- “Great teaching and most thought provoking”
- “Such a pleasure to spend time with the lovely fun-loving ladies of St John’s”
- “It was lovely spending time together”
- “Super worship, wonderful fellowship times and good to meet new people”
- “Challenging and inspirational”
- “Lovely weekend – great pics, great memories”
- “Fantastic weekend; I’m feeling refreshed and relaxed”
- “I was in two minds whether to go but so glad I did”
- “When’s the next one?”
Our thanks go to the many people who gave up their time to pray for us! Thanks too to Lorna, Ruth, Viv, Rebekah and Judith. God willing, it’ll be the first of many such weekends to come!