Saturday, 5 October 2013

House Church Weekend Away

Revisiting our recent house church weekend away for this post
We met in these lovely oast houses in East Sussex
I have been here before so I knew what to expect
a great Christian Retreat Centre
Hops were grown throughout the area some decades ago and the oast houses were where the hops were dried.
The funnels at the top swing round (like a weather vane) to catch the direction of the wind
With modern technology these oasts  are now not needed so they are dotted around Kent and East Sussex and used for many different purposes 



Our lovely meeting area
see two of the oasts in the background
These two were used as bedrooms.
The door above is where the hops would have been poured in



The doors into the dining room


swimming pool


a better view of the oasts here
you can see how they have been joined together to form the current accommodation



the other side of the dining room


'chilling out'

Below is a copy of a report that I wrote for our church website

Mid-September found our house church enjoying another weekend away together, this time in the beautiful Oast House in Northiam, East Sussex, with an expectancy of further deepening our relationship with God and each other.

We were blessed in every way with very tasteful and comfortable accommodation in a converted oast house, with more than enough excellent food and great hospitality in a peaceful and restful location. For those who took advantage, I must not forget the heated indoor swimming pool and tennis courts.

As in the past, Friday evening was a time of settling in and relaxing together. These times are important as everyone unwinds after a busy week and gives opportunity for quality time in each other’s company. Saturday morning and evening were times of worship, prayer and sharing while the afternoon was set aside for folk to rest, swim, walk or visit further afield as they wished.

As seems to be the norm, on Sunday morning the pace seems to intensify as everyone is aware that we are nearing the end of our stay. We had a great time of encouraging each other in our various gifting’s and speaking words over each other’s lives.

Our leader Peter shared on the subject of ‘Hope and Joy’ Romans 15:13 and Hebrews 6:19, leaving us with the following questions, the call on our lives being to welcome Jesus into all situations:
1.       What affects our Hope?
2.       What do we believe about God?
3.       Do we really believe who we are in Christ?
4.       How do we see others? Are we honouring and encouraging each other?
5.       What do we believe about our circumstances?
6.       Are we going to live life as over comers as hopelessness is not from God?
As our time drew to a close, the same subject (freedom) came up as it did at the end of our last weekend away together last year.

I personally questioned in my heart why this subject was coming up again, were we not living in freedom? We certainly have moved on in a measure of freedom but the fear of man still hangs around. 

It led me to thinking, what is freedom, believing that is was something we all need to seek God about. As with everything freedom misused has it’s dire consequences. It does not give us permission to just do what we like, when we like. However real freedom, in and under Christ, is liberating for ourselves and others.

So to wrap up, freedom is not just doing what we like but knowing that we are free in Christ to hear God’s voice and do the things that He wants to do through us as he empowers us with His Spirit.

Being one of the last to leave the building it was a real privilege and honour to have the opportunity to pray for those that run the centre and seeing how pleased and grateful they were, as were we when they prayed for us before our first meal together.



15 comments:

Tracey Steele@Breathing English Air said...

What a beautiful transformation. Nice to see these buildings sympathetically re-purposed.

Sara said...

Hello Barbara, this seems to have been a very encouraging and strengthening weekend retreat. I do like the way those oast houses were converted into the retreat center, and that there is an indoor pool for use in all weather! It sounds lovely.

Maria said...

It was a wonderful weekend. I like the photos you've put up. Freedom for me is becoming more and more secure in who I am in Christ, and therefore loving others from that amazing place if love and grace.
Great blog Barbara.

Elizabethd said...

That sounds like a wonderful centre.

madeforjoy said...

Great summary. Looks like a great space for a retreat, too. I have been thinking about "hope" too lately. It's amazing to think that God continues to open up new avenues of hope, new ways to redeem our lives and our world, and new avenues for his kingdom. Blessings in your journey!

Vee said...

That sounds like a beautiful experience in a very hospitable environment.

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like a wonderful faith filled weekend surrounded by such beauty. I love what they have done with the oasts. What a delightful location!

Adrienne said...

What a wonderful weekend! There is much food for thought and meditation here. And what a blessing to stay and pray with the staff that runs the center. A blessing for them - and for you!
~Adrienne~

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a blessing to be able to be in such a place for a retreat with others.

Trisha said...

Barbara this is such a beautiful post, very touching and heartfelt. Thank you so much for your insight and warmth. Blessings, Trisha

Cheri said...

Great post Barbara! Beautiful pictures.

Grayseasailor said...

Lovely building for a retreat, and a time to affirm, "freedom is not just doing what we like but knowing that we are free in Christ to hear God's voice and do the things that He wants to do through us as He empowers us with His Spirit." Thanks for posting, Barbara.
Gracie

a woman who is said...

Lovely post Barbara. I always love a peek into your house church family and how you are all walking out your love of God and community together. Thanks for sharing the part about your thoughts on freedom. Wonderfully put. I got to see a few of these oasts buildings at Sissinghurst. They are quite picturesque in your country side.

Lori Zehr said...

Barbara: Such a nice post. You have the most interesting buildings and such! Never heard of an oast. Thank you for sharing! I also enjoyed hearing about your church--my husband has been preaching for the last three weeks on the topic of "who we are in Christ." Wonderful topic on which to receive revelation and then attempt to live it out to His glory!

La Petite Gallery said...

Sounds like a nice retreat.
yvonne