It’s a good few years since I was last at Soulnet and it was good to be back. The last time I was supposed to attend the snow rendered getting there impossible. This time the snow held off until we were there and was rather wonderful … a Narniaesque setting for the retreat, adding to the feeling of being away from ‘normal’ life.
A Major theme of this year was the idea of ‘family’ as a way of thinking about relationship, community and belonging …. both for ourselves, but more importantly for what it is that we offer to young people. This theme was explored by Rich Atkinson as he reflected on the work that his team were doing in Sheffield, but also by Mike as he explored the ‘values’ that are core to Soul Survivor (and indeed will provide the matrix for the input and discussion this summer at the festivals).
“You can’t belong to a service but you can belong to a family”
The idea of relationship and of community is lived out well at Soulnet, in the welcome and in the fact that you are billeted in a Chalet where there is a good chance that you don’t know your fellow villa dwellers. I was doubly blessed by being absorbed into the Guildford posse and also welcomed by the Nottinghamshire party who were in part sharing with me and the remainder occupying the villa next door. Enormous thanks to all for the welcome, food, conversation and conviviality.
“Anointing rests on Obediance”
I’ve enjoyed so many great conversations as well as loving the humour and silliness. Being part of tangle of human beings being plunged together down the rapids… is still making me smile now.
I’m definitely thinking about #soulnet13 being carved into the diary (this hashtag is already active in the twitterverse)
So back to normality: refreshed, encouraged and reminded. To God be the Glory