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Rachel Bowen writes

I'm sure many of you are aware that some of us have just got back from a week at New Wine. This year it was at a new venue and we were a smaller group than usual from ECB, but what a privilege to join with 11000 others in seeking God!

There is something for everyone - children’s groups for all ages with really fun and engaging activities, places for prayer and continuous worship, as well as a market place with loads of Christian resources and charities offering mission opportunities. There were 4 different venues for the main teaching sessions, each with a very different style, ranging from the loud worship in the 5000 seat arena, to a much smaller more intimate venue called Presence. We were fortunate to hear some excellent speakers throughout the week, both at the main meetings, but also at various seminars. Just to give you an idea, I went to seminars on worship (predictable - sorry!), robots and AI (artificial intelligence, not my husband), letting go of perfectionism, and the use of digital media in evangelism, but there were also talks on theology, family, leadership and even Brexit.

I think we have all come back, having met with God and feeling encouraged and challenged to live daily for Him. The New Wine slogan for these events is “uniting thousands to worship One” and that was certainly true - it was a great opportunity to set aside some time to refocus our busy lives.

However, as well as encountering God, one of the most brilliant things about the week is developing some amazing friendships. We obviously knew each other a bit before we went, but spending a week camping and doing life together really brings you much closer. Right from the start, we were helping each other pitch tents, cooking and eating together, hunting for the cleanest toilets and showers, looking out for each other and having (very deep?) conversations each evening about anything and everything. Everyone was included, from the youngest (4) to the oldest (shall remain secret!). Sadly, the very strong winds meant that the event finished on Friday rather than Sunday, but miraculously, we all managed to pack away our tents in the dry. We had planned to eat together at New Wine (to celebrate Colin’s birthday) on the Saturday, so we all met up anyway and had our camping sweet and sour chicken meal together, in a real house, using proper plates and cutlery! What is the point of writing all of this?

If you’re considering coming to New Wine next year, do! It is great. You will come back encouraged and challenged. And let’s all appreciate the amazing community that God has placed us in at ECB.

Psalm 133 “How good and pleasan it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

Acts 2:46-47 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”