Every year in July thousands of people drive into the Mendip Hills of Somerset and pitch their tents, caravans and mobile homes in the Royal Bath and West Showground. The usual rain, mud and cold does nothing to dampen the warm welcome and excitement in the air. A happy gathering place for people of all ages and backgrounds come to enjoy inspiring teaching, heart-filled worship and good old plain fun, yes FUN. The annual New Wine Summer Conference begins.
Kids have an amazing time in their groups, sometimes praying, sometimes singing, sometimes listening, lots of times gunging and playing games. New friendships are made and parents are relaxed knowing their kids are in good hands. Children with special needs are welcomed with open arms and they are included in all the children’s programmes.
The youth discover God in the “toasty corner”(I believe this is where they make toast!), the tuck shop, the wii challenge, the basket ball matches as well as in worshiping through live Christian bands and taking part in prayer and ministry.
At the end of each day filled with as much or as little teaching and worship you want, you can relax listening to live music, stand up comedy, shop at the market place, hang out with friends at the over 18’s bar, take part in speed dating, pub quizzes or just dance the night away.
Sound too good to be true? Well it is not just me who is drunk on New Wine:
“We have been going to new wine for 6 years and every year we live under canvas for a week. Not ideal as I am no camper but we go with St Paul’s and the fellowship and friendship far outweighs the discomforts of sharing grassy showers and muddy toilets. Also packing a few bottles of wine never hurts. Our children love going, meeting their friends and enjoying their independence and my teenage sons have now started to help out with the kid’s clubs. Geoff and I enjoy going to seminars (though I have been known to attend zero) and the morning and evening worship is pretty special. There is something awesome about worshiping together with thousands of people.” Anne
“New Wine is a great experience and a real holiday for our family. The children have so much freedom and come and go to their daytime and evening groups as they wish. Every day the children left for their groups full of eagerness and excitement whilst my wife and I were able to spend time together catching up with each other and resting. We also attended some interesting seminars such as ‘how to live a significant life’ and ‘parenting teenagers’. We will be going back for sure. “ Richard
“For me New Wine is a special time of year. Not just because it is an amazing place to worship God but it is also a time I meet up with friends I don’t see very often. Some years when the rain threatens to penetrate my tent I long for my warm bed and am tempted to run to the train station but there is something about New Wine that keeps pulling you back. For me, I think it is the community spirit. I wake every morning to a cheery “hello” despite my sleep deprived grunts and there is never a short supply of food and drink. Just the other morning I woke up to a big jug of fresh coffee that someone had made and left before hurrying off to the early morning 7.15am worship and most days I would be invited to eat dinosaur portions in someone else’s caravan or tent. This year I worked in Pebbles, the kids club for aged 3-4 year olds. Wow! exhausting but really rewarding.” Matt
So, just a few comments from other New Wine buffs and it seems that once tried, the taste for New Wine seldom leaves you. In fact I would go as far to say it grows and matures and leaves a wonderful refreshing, spiritual flavour in your life.