On the Friday night we were welcomed by the Lee Abbey team and enjoyed supper, playing dodge ball and then went on a night hike. Then we shared together and all got given a journal to write in. We were up early on Saturday to walk up to the top of the hill before breakfast.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge. “
After breakfast we all had a chance to do rock climbing, archery and made some amazing wooden badges from some yew wood we found on our walk. We learned about setting spiritual goals in archery and trusting others when we were blindfolded. We learned about getting ready to learn a new skill and the importance of having other people to help and practicing lots if we want to get better as we climbed. We learned about God’s creation and our part in it as we made our name badges. After each activity we had some time to write in our journals and talk about where God was in and what he had been saying to us.
We chose what to do in the afternoon and enjoyed photography workshops, finding out about trees and chilling out! We also has time to play table football, pool, table tennis and go round some rally amazing prayer stations that Pauline had put around the site.
In the evening we went on another amazing night walk and spent fifteen minutes sitting in silence listening to God in the woods.
On Sunday we went to the beach chapel and thought about the time Jesus appeared to his friends on the beach and ate fish with them after his death and resurrection. We ate fish on the beach together and experienced God in the wind and the waves.
Then we did an egg challenge in teams and wrote on the back of our badges some words that God spoke to us over the weekend or summed up what we felt the weekend gave us. These included ‘God is in the silence, fun, strength, hope, courage, inspired, reflect, peace, preach to the nation, light, trust, listen, joy, God loves you, Faithful servant, God loves me, Be still, Trinity, Trust in the Lord.
We had a delicious lunch, packed up and then spent some time capturing what we had learned, encouraging each other, giving thanks to God and celebrating together.
To find out what we all thought about the weekend ….
“Going to Lee Abbey for the weekend was a great experience. On the Saturday we made wooden name badges, went indoor rock climbing and did archery. We also had chances to have silent times alone with God. This was good because it gave us a chance to get away from the busyness of everyday life.” Suzie 12
“Walks! We went on lots of walks morning and evening, they were all very exciting. Dan liked it when we were wearing a blindfold and we were taken up to top of a hill looking out to sea with three crosses behind you.
“On Saturday night we went on a night walk. We had to stay still and quiet in 15 minutes and in that time I heard God speaking to me. He told me to look up at the moon and I saw a happy face and He said that was how He felt about me for being so brave on my own in the dark.” Dan 13
Rock climbing: For many people this was the best activity of the weekend. Suzie was very proud of herself as she managed to climb an overhang.
Archery: We had great fun. Ryan’s favourite part of it was when we tried to hit the target blindfolded. Milo managed to get an 8 blindfolded!
Wooding: in wooding we cut, sanded, and polished a small piece of wood then burnt our name into it. Chris was amazed at how smooth it was.” Sam 13
“I really enjoyed the badge making as you were
quiet working on it and you didn’t need to speak so I had more time thinking
about God. I was thinking about how much
He loves us all.”
“I’ve built up more trust in God doing a lot of things blindfolded. When I couldn’t see it seemed like He was there – I found it easier climbing blindfolded. I got lots of help from people and so I got much higher. My word was Trust.” Chanan 15
“I have been
really encouraged to seek to listen to God and that although I sometimes find
this difficult and don’t always hear anything, He does love us to listen to him
and can really speak to our hearts, if we let him.”
“God speaks through actions and at this weekend I learnt how wonderful it was to receive God’s love through another person.” Jilly Age unknown!
“I just really enjoyed the whole of the weekend – no downs.” Jacob 12
“When I first came here I was so excited about it. The people I was sharing a room with, the people I would meet and the fantastic activities we would be doing. I also found how great it is being with other Christians who understand you. It’s a great spiritual experience and I love learning about how amazing God is and his wonderful creation.”
“Spending time with the young people at Lee Abbey this weekend has been a wonderful experience. They are truly inspirational and watching God work through them and with them has been an incredibly refreshing experience.”
“It was great, we learnt about God and that He is with you everywhere even in the silence. I thank Selina for organizing it and also Richard for telling Hizone which is my bible study group for young children from the age of 12-15. Overall an excellent experience.” Rhiannon 13
“The whole experience just taught me to listen in the silence, to just be in awe of the beauty around me and my blessed friends.
“I have learnt that it’s better to listen to God in the silence even if it’s for a short amount of time. It’s still good to listen out for his voice.” Adele
“Lee Abbey brought me so much closer to God. It’s been one of the best weekends I’ve
“Embracing the silence. One of the important things that we can do is simply to ‘shut up’ and let God speak to us. But this can be scary. What might happen? We might not be able to focus. I never have enough time! Why not try introducing just 5 minutes of silence at one point in your day. If you struggling for inspiration why not read a Psalm several times over, letting the words become familiar and then noticing particular words or phrases that stand out to you. Then let those words rest in your mind while you’re silent – and see what God gets up to!
Another way you could do this is reading one of Jesus’ stories and imagining yourself in it – literally being there, noticing the scene, feeling the wind and then imagine how Jesus might come and talk to you.” Martin Diocesan Youth Advisor
Tips to help you be closer to God
“Listening to God. “I really wish I could tell you what God says to me. You see the thing is that when I receive a message from him it’s special to me. Even when I try to explain to others what He said, it turns into um’s and er’s and a long pause of confusion of how to share the message. So you must understand I cannot say much, but I know He’s speaking to all of us.” Connor 15
“Journaling is a good idea as sometimes it’s hard to talk about your relationship with God and experience, so write when things come to you so it is more natural as that is when it’s from God.”
“I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in a weekend – a truly joyful experience. I learnt how to appreciate God in other aspects of my life! A great time to reflect alone and with others –a really friendly and welcoming place” Lucy
On our final certificates we recorded our spiritual treasures .. Here are just a few…
I learned that….
I now believe …
Some of the encouragement we shared with each other in our final certificates