Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Leeds Retreat : Rooted

By Paddie Denton

The retreats that we get to be part of are wonderful things, but they are often described as a mountaintop experience. Leaving that retreat, it can often feel like we are sliding down the side of the mountain, waiting for our next chance to climb back to God. However, Rooted felt a bit different.

Life can seem to be heading towards the destination, looking for the end and the celebration that comes with that (the mountaintop). To others it's 'not about the destination, but the journey' (the traveling up the mountain). But after this retreat I feel much more excited about the start, about beginnings.

And Rooted feels like a beginning. The start of a journey, and of some exciting things.

1) The mission at Leeds Trinity University

To say I was excited that the Youth 2000 Leeds retreat had moved to my old university campus is an understatement, and it was a brilliant change. The chapel felt made for the retreat, and it already felt like the retreat had been there for years. But it has also inspired something beyond what happened in the chapel. That weekend, the campus had a vibrant, energetic and loving example of the faith and the conversations that have started there and that continue are something miraculous.

2) Just pray

I don't know quite what it was but the talk on prayer this weekend was especially motivational and a real stand-out for me. This is probably because Mother Winsome basically summed it up as, 'stop thinking about it and just pray'. Apparently, this was just the slap in the face I needed. Simple.

3) New Relationships

It would be nice to say that just before Valentines it was that sort of relationship that I had started, but no such luck. What did start were new friendships among so many new first timers, (which helped lead to great conversations) alongside the rekindling of old friendships.

Like I said, this did not feel like the mountaintop to me, who knows why, because I felt as alive with faith as I normally do at a retreat. But this feels very much like the start of a new and exciting chapter for the Youth 2000 community and for the people we met at Leeds.

When a tree grows, it first establishes its roots, that's how everything else starts, and Rooted felt just like that. This weekend I felt we re-established ourselves back in the growth that God provides, through wisdom, love and support. And after Rooted I am excited to see that growth.

 It feels to me that the peak hasn't' been reached, that this retreat was more about getting us ready to flourish in the world. Right now, I don't think it's time to roll down from the mountaintop. Now feels like the perfect time to start.

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