Windermere Lake District January 2011
Stewart’s Report . . .
We started to arrive around 4pm on Thursday 30th December to be greeted with tea, coffee and cakes! It was really good to meet up with old friends, and to welcome some new guests to their first CSF holiday! The hospitality and food at the URC Centre were absolutely excellent, and many thanks to the staff for making us so welcome and providing for us so well! After our evening meal, we were introduced to our lovely hosts – Brenda and John Willis – who have been associated with the URC Centre for many years – so it was a privilege to be a part of the ongoing tradition of the Centre. After a “getting to know you” session, we enjoyed one of Howard’s “Extravaganza Quizzes” followed by the Epilogue from our President, Bryan Conway followed by tea and coffee.
The next morning we enjoyed a variety of workshops. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to these – Brenda W. who led a wonderful and inspirational card-making workshop, Steve who once again taught the excellent watercolour session and Bryan Conway whose Bible study in Proverbs was greatly appreciated and Stewart took a piano workshop based around the lovely song “King of Kings, Majesty”. After lunch, it was time for our afternoon boat trip to Ambleside. In the evening, we had a wonderful New Year’s Eve meal followed by games and barn dancing. Many thanks to Sarah for preparing many of the games which we thoroughly enjoyed! This was followed by a time of poetry reading and then we saw the New Year in with champagne and mince pies, followed by a Communion Service led by Brenda Willis.
After a later breakfast the next morning there was a walk up Orrest Head. (Judging from the photo, Janet was really pleased to make it to the top!!) and in the afternoon there were trips to Grizedale Forest and Brantwood, once the home of John Ruskin. In the evening there were more excellent games, and a an exciting performance of Snow White capably organised by Susan T. Many thanks!! Our time together was all too soon at an end – we went to Church the next morning, many of our guests going to the Service at the URC Church attached to the Windermere Centre, then, after lunch it was time to say our farewells, and look forward to our next holiday at Whirlow Grange this Easter.
During our time together were privileged to enjoy much helpful ministry enabling us to look forward to the year ahead trusting God to guide and bless us as we seek to do His will. Valuable contributions came from from members including Patricia Deacon and David Fairer. Patricia has very kindly given permission for the text of her “Reflections” address to be included (below) on the Website and David has raised some interesting and thought-provoking points which we may discuss in the next edition of CSF News. Finally, many thanks to Brenda T-C who helped to lead the holiday so well, and to all of you who came and, by your kindness and friendliness, made this such a lovely and blessed start to the New Year. (Stewart)
Patricia’s New Year “Thought for the Day”
New Year Diet!
‘I’ve eaten too much over Christmas! There’s nothing for it – I’ll have to go on a diet in the New Year.’ Sounds familiar? You may remember there was a popular TV series with Gillian McKeith called You are What You Eat. That may be something of an exaggeration, but there’s no doubt what we eat affects the state of our health. Well, this morning I would like to try to help us start planning our New Year diet, but a diet with a difference, a diet for the mind!
‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.’ (Philippians 4:8)
Whatever is True
We are to fill our minds with things that are true. We are to engage with the real world and not live in a fantasy world. There are so many false ideas around, but the best antidote to error is truth. In Revelation 19:11 the apostle John says, ‘I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.’ That rider was of course the Lord Jesus Christ. One of his names is ‘True’. Let’s keep him in the forefront of our minds.
Whatever is Noble
According to the dictionary, ‘noble’ means ‘showing greatness of character, magnanimous’. Let’s have done with petty frustrations and resentments. Again I can think of no better example than the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ That’s 2 Corinthians 8:9. And Philippians 2:5, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.’ He was in very nature God and yet he emptied himself, came to be born on earth and went all the way to the cross for us.
Whatever is Right (just)
Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king, that he will rule with justice. It points us forward to Jesus, the King of Kings, who will most truly reign with justice and righteousness, and it says in verse 13, ‘He will take pity on the weak and the needy.’ We can be thinking about what we could do for others.
Whatever is Pure
The media and perhaps even those around us are constantly bombarding us with things that are contrary to God’s standards. We need to make a conscious effort to fill our minds with things that are pure. The Lord Jesus Christ will return. He is the heavenly bridegroom who will come for his bride, the Church. The bride doesn’t want to be dirty on her wedding day! 1 John 3:3: ‘Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.’
Whatever is Lovely
One of the reasons I like coming on CSF holidays is that they give me so many lovely things to think about: the beautiful scenery, being waited on and not having to do the washing up, so many lovely people to meet and have fellowship with. The Song of Solomon represents the love between Christ and his church. In 5:16 the Beloved says ‘He is altogether lovely.’ There’s a book by Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Presbyterian who lived in the seventeenth century, called The Loveliness of Christ. It’s a collection of extracts from his writings. He says: ‘There are curtains to be drawn back in Christ that we never saw, and new foldings in Him. I despair that ever I shall win to the far end of that love, there are so many plies (layers) in it; therefore dig deep, and sweat, and labour, and take pains for Him, and set by so much time in the day for Him as you can.’ There are curtains in the loveliness of Christ that have not yet been drawn aside.
Whatever is Admirable
This has the idea of ‘things you can speak well of’. You may remember the King James Version, ‘of good report’. What is in our minds will come out in our words. If we want to be able to speak about the Lord Jesus Christ we shall first have to fill our minds with him.
So there’s our diet for the New Year: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable —in fact anything that is excellent or praiseworthy. We could well take that verse as our CSF motto for 2011. And the next verse goes on, ‘and the God of peace will be with you.’