The S.V.C Family Weekend 2014
A Beginner’s View
There’s not many people that can say a great weekend starts by leaving your wife’s suitcase at home, However I’m going to have to go against popular opinion here.
The Sutton Village Church Family weekend is one of those events that everyone looks forward to all year round. I and my wife Suzanne have missed the last few through a variety of circumstances, however come 2014 we were fully committed and ready to spend some quality time with our Church Family.
We went into our First Family Weekend with an open mind, we’d been warned that the Rio Carnival couldn’t compete with SVC on party atmosphere, that Marco Pierre White had asked our hotel for cooking tips and that Strictly Come Dancing were planning to do a one off special based purely around Tyrone Miah’s interpretation of ‘My Lighthouse’.
Grange-Over-Sands was lovingly referred to by someone in our group as the Florida of the UK. It’s a beautiful little sleepy coastal town. An odd place you might think for the loudest and proudest Church in St. Helens, but that’s where you’d be wrong.
In Grange-Over-Sands, with a beautiful view of the Lake/River/Ocean/ Bay (we never were sure what that large stretch of water outside of the Hotel was), sits the impressive Thornleigh Christian Centre and Hotel. Even though we arrived at night, it still cut a beautiful sight to weary travels. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by the new owner (and some friends from Church who just happened to be loitering around reception).
I could spend ages telling the world about how luxurious the room was and what an amazing view we had over Grange-Over-Sands, but I’ll focus on what’s really important, The SVC gossip and Worship sessions.
We were amazingly blessed to be joined by Emily and her husband Theo for the weekend. Emily was our worship leader for the weekend, whilst Theo was just an all-round superman playing music with the band and bailing out at least one team in the Church Pub Quiz.
Emily’s worship sessions focused on being a light in the world against the many challenges we might face. She spoke with such passion and love for God that it moved every single one of us. There could be no doubt that across the weekend we were given a very real and very clear challenge by Emily to be the Children of God in our community. Through our prayer stations on Sunday we got to spend some real quality time talking to God, time that was well needed and well used by us all. Speaking as a family weekend first timer, I felt properly refreshed and ready to take on any challenge that the mad old world could throw at me with God by my side.
As well as the worship sessions we also had our amazing worship team. We all know we are very privileged to have such an amazing worship group at SVC and the Family Weekend continued to reinforce this. We had some incredible songs which got us all pumped up and ready for worship. It takes a lot to get a congregation up and dancing from the comfiest chairs in Cumbria, but time and time again, Rob, Lisa, Donna, Chris, Neil and Theo (Lee was serving as Artistic Director this weekend) had us all up and shaking our funky stuff to the legendary songs we’ve had so often on a Sunday (and some we’ve not).
No Family Weekend should be complete (look at me talking like a hardened pro) without its fair share of laughs and entertainment. Whether it was Agnes’ revelation that her chat-up line is the rather saucy ‘Hello’ or that Zak Appleton is the only person in whole of St. Helens who knows who built the Dream Statue. There is also something suitably funny about wandering around Grange-Over-Sands during our Saturday walk and all 20 of us crowding into a sweet shop to buy every confectionery on earth and then eating them all before getting back to the hotel.
As our first family weekend came to an end, I and Suzanne reflected on what had been a refreshing and enjoyable weekend. We as a Church have been given a challenge, one that we are called to face. It’s through weekends like this, that we come closer together and are that bit closer to meeting this challenge.
SVC Weekender First Timer