“The Gathering is a men’s weekend festival like no other! It’s fun, it’s life changing, it’s THE standout event for guys.” Christian Vision for Men’s annual event has been attended by a group of guys from Ipswich for the past few years. Shane Hughes reports on what they got up to this year, and encourages others to join them next year.
2,500 blokes. Camping, beer, fire and axes, what could possibly go wrong? Oh and did I mention quad bikes, a full size wrestling ring, sword fighting, international tug-of-war, 5-a-side football, ninja obstacle course, human whack-a-mole and free tea and coffee? This is what was on offer for this year’s weekend away retreat for men. The Gathering is a unique environment – a combination said to be like ‘Top Gear meets Song of Praise’. It’s a collection of multiple types of activities from the physically active, to the thought provoking. There are talks by some of the most inspirational people, a top 10 of various things, and some singing by the amazing Graham Kendrick and his band.
This is my 7th year attending The Gathering, and each year I can’t wait till the next one. This is probably the best weekend away to take your church group or your non-Christian mates. It is very laid back, offering those who have no interest in anything church to feel welcome and those who are full of the spirit to be encouraged and energised.
This year over 100 men committed themselves for the first time to know Christ! We had an ex-convict who accepted Jesus and just wanted to hug a Police Officer. About 15 Officers, most of whom were there with the CPA (Christian Police Association) obliged him!
Friday night started off with the international tug-of-war contest, some inspiring talks, a top 10 of biscuits and some great music. On the Saturday evening a medieval theme was in full action, with most of the blokes dressing up as either knights or peasants, although there was a random Roman gladiator and Brave heart. The late evening event was a very renowned Beatles tribute band who kept us all entertained until well past 1130 in the evening.
The Sunday found us being awed by a Lancaster fly past thanks to the RAF and some more awesome talks and music.
All of this was interspersed with some amazing cooking for our group by yours truly, and various free activities. It truly was an inspiring time.
Next year’s Gathering will take place between 26-28 June 2020 (see www.thegatheringformen.com for more information). If you would like to go I am always happy for others to join our group. I can provide a tent and for £30 I will do all the cooking for you including drinks.