Over the weekend of 30 September to 02 October, 25 young people gathered together at the Peak Venture Outdoor Activity Centre in Sheffield to grow in friendship, faith and to have fun!

What better way to begin our time together than with a warm meal?! After the meal we made sure that everyone had a place to sleep before gathering for introductions and games. It was great to discover that many of the young people remembered one another from previous synod events. Our group leader from the centre then led us in a GIANT game of Hotspots (just like Twister). Of course the young people were far more flexible than the leaders but fun was had by all involved! Our evening ended with a short session where we acknowledged that God was present in the room, the elephant in the room perhaps, but an elephant that we were committed and proud to welcome and address over the weekend. We looked at the choices that we make in our day to day lives and as we look to the future, and were challenged that our belief in God and decision to follow Jesus were our own choices to make.

Saturday was a day of activity and adventure. We started with archery and jungle vines. Many were challenged by the height of the jungle vines but conquered their fears with the encouragement of their peers and the support of the instructors. In archery as we were tasked with different targets and games to develop our techniques and co-ordination skills. After lunch and a little bit of free time we put on our extra layers and headed to the lake for raft building. In two team we designed, built and paddled our rafts in the lake in both the hot sunshine and drizzly rain! The biggest challenge for the group here was to stick around and tidy up whilst cold and wet, but the majority of the group stuck it out and were soon rewarded with a hot shower and a warm meal. That evening we built a campfire, toasted marshmallows and sang some songs together before spending a short amount of time getting to know one another better and playing games.

We packed our bags and tidied our rooms on Sunday morning before heading out to quick zip for one last hit of adrenaline. The rest of the afternoon we spent discussing and reflecting on the story of the prodigal son and the relationships and the journeys of the characters in Jesus’ story. We were left with just THREE things to consider as we all went back home:

  1. To look inside of your own heart and to find God dwelling there.
  2. To know that God is waiting for you with open arms and that God will embrace you and welcome you into his heart.
  3. To remember that it is about YOU and GOD and to not compare yourself with others.

The Yorkshire Synod Youth Residential is open to all young people aged 11-16 years connected with a URC church. We would love to welcome more young people from across the synod to be together and share in this experience. Look out for dates for the 2023 annual residential early next year.

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