'Chill in a Field' South West Camp
28th September 2018
The South West of the UK is home to many small Adventist churches, and the need to function in small groups becomes a necessity. As a result, members learn effectively and successfully.
This was the case when it came to the annual camp held on 21-23 September, now famously known as 'Chill in a Field'. Sofas were brought in from local churches and homes and placed in a circle, providing a homely and inviting atmosphere where sharing and talking becomes easier and naturally leads to interesting and insightful discussions. Within the circle lamps, rugs and beanbags add to the 'living room' set up and a prayer tree takes centre stage rather than the speaker.
Prayer stations were set up all around the room that were easily accessible to anyone at any time. This year the prayer stations included 'The Love, Hope, Prayer and Faith Framework', 'Prayer Board' and the 'Prayer Tree'. Each prayer station allows the participant with a creative outlet to God and indirectly present their prayers to the group. A section of each worship was set aside for prayer allowing for contemplation and reflection.
Despite the howling winds and beating rain outside, the space remained a place of restoration, peace and thought-provoking discussion centered on the word of God. This year the speaker, Pastor Sam Gungaloo, focused the discussions on parables told by Jesus mostly in the Gospel of Matthew, which builds a picture of 'What the Kingdom of Heaven is Like?'.
The parable of the hidden treasure found in Matthew 13:44 tells among other things, that we should invest everything in God's will, trusting that He will provide. We also discussed God as the Overlooked Treasure as many neglect to realise His worth due to the distractions, work, money and fame in life.
Pastor Sam also highlighted that the parable of the pearl is valuable whether discovered or not. Just because it's hidden in the mud still encased in the oyster doesn't mean it's worth any less.
Another parable focused on was that of the mustard seed and how the smallest of seeds can become the largest tree. Pastor Sam pointed out that the mustard seed grows into a short, but wide bush and in fact not a tree confirming that anything is possible with God. We should not limit ourselves to what others say we can accomplish. If we want to be a tree we can! If it is God's will He will support us.
Worship is always a key part of camp. With camp organiser Frontier Evangelist Steven Hulbert leading on the guitar and Matthew Herman accompanying on the piano everyone sang their hearts out. The small group sounded like a large congregation when praising the name of God with worship anthems which included 'In Christ Alone', 'Days of Elijah' and the new camp favourite, 'Reckless Love'. One attendee even commented "it was one of the best evening worships I have come across."
Isabelle, one of the campers, had a fantastic time at her first Chill in a Field camp and commented that: "'Chill in a Field' felt like a family reunion. The group felt very close and when we weren't chilling in the safe sharing space, there were other amazing activities such a walk down to the beach (despite the drizzle) and a lively board games evening. The 'Chill in a Field' experience meant a lot to me; I felt as though I could take a step back from life and re-evaluate my relationship with God and with others through studying parables by Jesus and reviewing our own stories."
Another camper, Adriel, summoned up the weekend with a thought-provoking post on Facebook:
"The Kingdom of God is like a group of crazily diverse, crazy individuals…
· Gathering in a room to sing meaningful worship songs
· Discussing the parables Jesus taught to crowds a thousand plus years ago and discovering new life and new meanings in them
· Painting blank mugs with expressions of each individual's personality and their creative powers inherited from their Creator Himself
· Breaking bread...and roti…and macaroni and cheese together, discovering the uniqueness but also the striking similarities we share despite our differences, over a meal
· Taking a walk outdoors despite the overcast and rainy conditions; embracing the fact that rainy days are part of life and should be enjoyed as well. Watching as the skies cleared up as a symbol of what will eventually happen after life's rainy days...
· Playing the Resistance board game and still trusting each other when the game is done.
"The Kingdom of God is all of us, living alongside each other, encouraging each other, working together to help the other grow just a bit stronger each day, at their own pace, with no forceful or selfish interference in the other's lives, just honest, intentional acts of love."
Thanks to Pastor Sam for leading us in discussion and guiding us deeper into the word of God. Also thanks to Studio Haran for the awesome mug painting workshop allowing us to creatively explore our vision of The Kingdom of God. And of course a big thank you to Earl and Jackie Ramharacksingh for cooking us fabulous food in vast quantities! I'm sure everyone who attended would join in thanking Steven Hulbert and the LIVE St Austell team for organising such a chilled, God-filled weekend.