My Holiday at New Wine
This year for our family holiday we went to New Wine in Newark summer conference with nearly 30 members of our church. New Wine is a week long Bible camp. It is predominately charismatic Anglicans although many other types of churches take part.
If you are keen on the big main meetings then New Wine will appear very much like a number of other Bible weeks that are around. Each of these had a thousand or more worshipping to modern worship music with usually a talk by a well known speaker followed by an invitation to go forward for prayer ministry.
But to be honest this wasn’t the main attraction for me. Not only was I more interested in the some of the seminars and art workshops during the day but also some of the music and comedy that rounded off each evening. And of course if you know me you’d know that I’d be heading for the prayer room.
One of the main things I loved about New Wine was the early morning prayer-times in the Sanctuary venue. It was a pity that its location was so close to other venues where the music was so loud. I understand it had been moved at the last minute. But it was possible to work round this.
I found two good times to be there: just after 7:00 am and at lunch time. So I was out across the campsite to Sanctuary most mornings and went two or three times for lunch time prayers. There were probably 20 or 30 people there each time and it was great as there was very little sound from other venues.
Sanctuary had a number of prayer stations with activities and suggested ways to pray and meditate and prayer walls where you could scribble thoughts and prayers. They were open most of the day but also had some more structured prayer and worship at specific times with Celtic style prayers and poetic liturgies.
I must confess that I preferred Sanctuary to the big loud worship gatherings in the other venues. Not that there was anything wrong with them. I thought they way they did the café style venues in them where you could sit and drink coffee was a great idea. I just didn’t really connect with any of these gatherings.
The school of missional leadership
I really enjoyed the school of missional leadership was an excellent eye opener on this subject. The week long series of seminars were not just talks on related themes but included group work that enabled us to begin to work through the material.
I came back with notes that I will post shortly and that hopefully can be applied in our own situation with projects such as WorkShop.
Arts & crafts
In the 3:16 venue I got to do sessions on art-journaling and ‘stitch-a-prayer’ needlework. I chose these two as rather than just learning skills they were using them in a more devotional way.
There was also an opportunity to create a picture there while listening to an evening celebration via the radio which I did one evening
The after-hours that I went to most was the comedy. I went to three sessions of Andy Kind who was hilarious.
On the first night I went to hear Steve Parsons, which turned out to be the music highlight of the week for me. I loved the fact it had a bar and I got a Guinness and sat on the front row soaking up some spiritual wisdom from this guy as he performed his songs. One after another these songs spoke deep into my heart.
I was glad that we had a caravan so that I could be quiet and rest during the day – often when my wife was off at one of the main meetings – and that the after-hours were not too late especially as I was getting up for the early morning prayer.
How does New Wine compare to other Christian camps like Spring Harvest or Greenbelt?
Having been to Spring Harvest a couple of times before I found New Wine is very similar. They had similar worship times, seminars, contemplative prayer venues and exhibitions and stalls.
• New Wine had a larger variety of seminars with noticeably more charismatic input including a number of seminars on spiritual gifts and accounts of healings.
• Spring Harvest has the advantage of some of the Butlins entertainment being available. But then New Wine had the arts & crafts workshops.
• If you bring your own tent camping at New Wine can be cheaper but less comfortable than a chalet at Butlins for Spring Harvest. However it is more expensive if like us you hire a caravan.
• Seven full days at New Wine is longer than you get at Spring Harvest which is 5 or 6 days. Greenbelt is even shorter – a long weekend of 4 days over the August Bank Holiday.
New Wine was great but I am sorely missing Greenbelt this year. I am looking forward to returning to Greenbelt in a year or two. It was interesting that what I liked at New Wine were the parts most like Greenbelt. But unlike Greenbelt at New Wine everything comes from an evangelical charismatic perspective.
I must also say there was nowhere near the choice of activities that you find at Greenbelt where you can often pick between music, worship, talks and discussion and other activities at the same time. And there is a lot more contemplative worship at Greenbelt.
Would I go to New Wine again?
I don’t know. New Wine may have been a one off for us but it was certainly worth it. Our daughter would love to go back another year so we may possibly return if our church’s youth group goes again.
I’m interested in perusing this year’s memory stick of the recordings that our church is purchasing and I’d definitely want to have a listen to any that our church buys in coming years too.
New Wine – the official site