Mission Academy Residential: From strength to strength
by Charis Britton
In October, Mission Academy went on a residential to Bewdley in Kidderminster. Seeing each other once a month doesn't really give enough of a chance to get to know each other properly, so the weekend away was a great opportunity to connect with each other and bond and by the end of the weekend we had gotten to know each other pretty well. We'd lost many boundaries after completing the ‘Jacob's Ladder’ challenge, as we had to support and lift each other in order to get to the top. Our other activities, like raft building involved teamwork and communication to build the best raft and get the most points. However, getting extra points included pushing each other into the "lake". Even when there weren't points on the line, the temptation to push each other in was too much to resist.
Surprisingly, the weather was quite nice throughout the weekend. Clear skies in the evening meant we had a beautiful view of the stars on Saturday night. It was amazing soaking in God's glory surrounded by His creation. We looked at the theme of light and darkness during our reflective night walk, and how God is the light to a world full of darkness but is also present in the darkness and the hard times. Our need for light was emphasised by the fact that only a few of us had torches and we had to walk through fields covered in horse poo! Light is the source of comfort and security, as well as warmth, which was provided by the light of the bonfire.
During the sessions, we looked back on the year (2014) and all that we’d done, such as helping out with the food bank, the hunger hut & fasting. It was a very encouraging to see how much we’d accomplished over the year. We each wrote our own personal statements and then came together to review our original aims. These were still in line with what we originally wanted Mission Academy to be. One of the decisions we made over the weekend was to include in our projects (over the course of a year) something from all spheres of influence (local, national, international) and also to include all 5 Marks of Mission. We will also be seeking to have more guest speakers.
We discussed new ideas for the coming year (2015) and went on to brainstorm ways of introducing mission academy to new people and welcoming them in. In October half term some members of Mission Academy did more volunteering in a food bank and others were involved with a ‘Feast’ Project. The next project we will be doing is St Basil’s Sleep Out on Nov 28th (we would love as many young people to join us as they can. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.) Early next year we will be leading prayers in the early morning slot at the Cathedral Tercentenary 24 hrs of prayer, doing Love Life, Live Advent, knitting and distributing scarves, and undertaking ‘Live Below the Line’
For more information on Mission Academy see this webpage. We would love more young people to join us as we journey on together into mission and service in our communities.