New Wine is a movement of churches working together to change the nation through a network of church leaders, National Gatherings, training events and resources. (www.new-wine.org/home/about-us)
In July 2016, a group of around 17 members of St Wilfrid’s & Westbrook Churches journeyed west to Shepton Mallet for New Wine’s national conference – United 2016! These conferences are a brilliant way to join with thousands of other Christians from all across the country, to worship, pray & learn together. Here are a couple of questions & answers from those who came:

1. What was your favourite part of New Wine 2016?
Spending time getting to know everyone from our church group, plus the worship & teaching with time to reflect too.  Meeting socially in our village during the day and evening, sharing food and drink together.
Spending time with people I don’t always speak to a lot – sitting around a torch in the dark after the evening service, laughing and joking with everyone and feeling a real sense of community.
Enormous choice of illuminating talks & subjects.
Stomping Ground (a family fun area) & the kid’s groups!
Being blessed with wonderful village hosts (Clive & Sue Williams)
2. What is one thing you have learnt/taken away from New Wine?
Learning about CAP (Christians Against Poverty) and the amazing work they do to support those in difficulty – a very moving talk!
Trust God – he won’t always reveal his plans to you straight away but have faith things will come in His time, not yours!
I actually enjoyed worshipping with nearly 5,000 others!
Much more solid relationships with those who came.

3. What was the hardest part of New Wine 2016?
Packing up and leaving… didn’t want it to end!
Tongues & healing
The long walk to collect the car at the end of the week, not that bad really 🙂
I found some of the worship difficult – I’m not a particularly outgoing worshipper in the sense I don’t throw my hands around or sing particularly loudly so a lot of it was outside my comfort zone. Saying that, everyone who went was so supportive I didn’t feel that was necessarily an issue, you could be yourself and that was still fine!
The distance from home to New Wine – but it was worth the drive!
Camping – I have always hated it, but it’s worth it for the rest of New Wine.

4. What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to New Wine in 2017?
Lots of warm clothing for night, a comfy sleeping bag and an open mind are my biggest three pieces of advice. I hate camping with a passion I usually reserve for spiders and cold showers and I actually really enjoyed myself, don’t let the thought of spending a week in a tent put you off.
Plan meals in advance, research what you’ll need (especially if you don’t camp often or at all) and take comfort there is a b&b 5 minutes away if it gets too much!
We had a great time and we’re now hoping to go back next year with a 4-month-old in tow, something I wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago!
Pace yourself, you will enjoy it more! Do not try and attend everything that is on offer, plan the day ahead from the programme, take time out.
Bring a comfy camping chair for sitting and chatting to friends in your village and comfy shoes for walking to all the events.

As you can see, we had a fantastic time away together and many of us are very much looking forward to going back in 2017! We are very much hoping that even more people will join us next year. There is lots of support for those with additional needs through ‘Our Place’ as well as loads of children’s groups throughout the day including Gems (0-2), Pebbles (3-4), Ground Breakers (5-7), Rock Solid (8-9), Boulder Gang (10-11), Club One (12-13) and Thirst (14-18). These groups usually meet in the morning, and again in the evening for ages 5+ and from the reports back from those who came with us this year – they sound like an awful lot of fun! With stories of games, fun new songs, bubbles and even gunge – these groups provide fantastic, engaging ways for kids to be learning about God whilst making new friends & lots of noise!

So, if you fancy joining us in 2017 – the conferences run 22nd-28th July (week 1) and 30th July – 5th August (week 2). St Wilfrid’s are planning to go to week 2 (due to school term times). Booking is now open & cheapest rates are available until 30th November! If you fancy something slightly different (and cheaper) you can also choose to work on team. There are around 2,000 volunteers on team each week doing anything from catering to running children’s groups to serving in coffee shops! Working on team allows you a free ticket to New Wine, plus catered meals all week! Team is also a lot of fun, allows you to meet other people from across the country, and still allows you to be part of the worship, teaching and social aspects of the week!
If you want to know more, why not visit the New Wine website or talk to anyone who went last year and get booked on! Hope you can join us!

New Wine 2016