Leeds Retreat

4th April 2019

On Friday 8 March 2019, Leeds youth packed their bags and boarded a minibus leaving from Parkinson's steps, University of Leeds, for a weekend of spiritual refreshment. Each of us did our utmost best to avoid being late, after our stern instructions: "We will be leaving at 17:05, those who are late will be left behind."

After enduring thick rush hour traffic, we finally ended up at our destination in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. We were cold, hungry, and our food supplies had yet to arrive. So, we settled for exploring our home for the weekend instead; choosing our beds, on a first come, first served basis. Finally, we were all together, sitting in the living room, around a blazing log fire. 32We had a short devotion and simple food and we were off to sleep.

That Sabbath morning, we arose finally feeling refreshed after the long week of study we had each suffered. We shared our private devotions over breakfast. After which, Naison (our speaker for the weekend) set the tone with his poignant, but also practical devotions. The overriding theme was based on 2 Corinthians 5:17-18: God through Jesus takes an active role in our reconciliation. However, we also learnt that God expects of us what we can do, though it be little. We certainly left the weekend spiritually refreshed, with a revived realisation of our desire to create time for God on a daily basis.

Throughout the weekend, we bonded as a youth group: through prayer, 142through laughter and through team cooking. We had time to ask one another more than the typical Sabbath morning questions and actually delved into how we were doing for real, what we were struggling with spiritually and engaged in spiritual discussions inspired by what we had learnt from workshops and worship.

We took a scenic Sabbath walk, 162with singing and lots of laughter throughout (no one was left behind, we really worked as one unit that weekend). Pictures were taken, discussions were had, and of course, it finished with most of us getting drenched in the Yorkshire winds and rain on the way back to our accommodation.

After a change of clothes, a relaxing moment around the log fire with vespers, games night began. We played various games, where rivalry was encouraged and we all engaged (aside from the introverts among us who went off to sleep).

By that Sunday morning, we were family. Most of us woke up to the sound of gospel jams, loud voices, laughter and the smell of vegetarian sausages and fried eggs. We came downstairs to tea, a full cooked breakfast and the final communal devotion. That weekend we survived every possible weather Britain had to throw at us. But we left with a sense of comradery and purpose. Purpose to ensure a stronger relationship with our Creator and strengthened bonds in which to facilitate that desire.

[Olivia Harvey]


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