Thank you Teresa for writing a report on this years Forum!
URC Holiday Forum…..
What can I say?
So we all know how much I like to talk, and those of you who know me well will know it’s not often I am lost for words. However trying to put into words how awesome Holiday Forum is, is hugely challenging.
It would be very selfish if I did not share this rewarding and revitalising experience, so I will try and capture the magic and condense it into a few paragraphs for you.
A brief outline: Holiday Forum runs every year from the beautiful Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick and has been running for 60 years.
Each morning begins at 8.15 with a huge breakfast of cereal, toast, fruit and a Full English Buffet.
After breakfast we all worship together (all age service led by the booked Minister for the week) before the children leave for their groups and everyone who wishes can attend the theme talk, led by the appointed theme leader. This year I was working with the children so didn’t get the opportunity to catch any, but last year our theme leader was Janet Toddlington from Westminster College. Janet specialises in the OT and her talks were amazing! They were eye opening, challenging and exciting and it was a real privilege to listen.
[Addition from webmaster – the theme talks this year on Growing the Church were also very good, and well worth catching on the Theme Talks page on this website]
Ater morning refreshments there is then a choice of groups including Children’s Club, Crèche, Needle Work, Bible Study, Film Club, Choir, etc followed by lunch which is always delicious, plentiful and enjoyed so much more all together in the dining hall.
The afternoons have various activities on offer ranging from Circus Skills to Cake Baking & Sports. These sessions run before & afternoon refreshments are served (Can you see the theme here?).
On one afternoon there is an opportunity of a planned excursion off site which I’ve heard amazing feed back about both years, but most parents with young children get together and take a trip to the most amazing swimming pool with awesome slides and crazy waves.
Dinner is, again, delicious, plentiful & enjoyed with friends.
Events are planned for each evening. This year we had a pub quiz, a songs of praise evening, the infamous ‘F Factor’ and a Beetle Drive as well as the Forum Evening on the last night when each group gives a display of what they have been doing, and it is also an opportunity to thank those who have helped during the week.
Morning & Evening prayers also run every day.
The best thing is, you can participate in as much or as little as you want. Despite all the planned activities and food, the most enjoyable part of Forum is just spending time with truly awesome people.
The children & I first went last year and at the end of the week we were truly saddened to leave behind lovely new friends. At the end of this years Forum, we were gutted to say goodbye to our new family. URC Holiday Forum is a great opportunity for anyone of any age, in any situation and from all walks of life to eat, play & pray together. A chance to share and learn experiences and to truly belong. As with most others who attend, we have definitely caught the Holiday Forum bug and are already counting down the days until Forum 2015.
Dates for next year are Sat 22nd to Fri 28th August 2015 and the cost for 6 nights is only £350 or £440 (en suite) all inclusive. Children 11-15 pay only 60% of that price. Those between 6 & 10 years old pay 30% and 5 years & under pay only 10%. Amazing value for money, despite offering memories & values money could never buy, and I would highly recommend it to all of you.