Katherine Wilson runs the Christian Retreat Centre, The Farm by the Water and here Katherine tells Network Suffolk a little bit about how it came into being and shares her hopes for the future.
The Farm by the Water began its journey six years ago when I was searching for a new family home for myself and two teenage children. It was the most unlikely of homes – set in the middle of nowhere with big empty rooms and a garden full of brambles and nettles.
The house was far too big for the three of us and there seemed little sense in pursuing such a whim. However, against all odds and reason God led us to this house. I knew from the beginning that God had plans for the farm, but I had no idea how things would develop over the years. Looking back, I see that if God had shown me at the beginning the scale of His plans, I would have run a mile. It happened slowly over time, with a few church meetings being held here from my home church and from there it just grew.
Six years on we are now part of the Lightwave group in Suffolk, working as part of fresh expressions of Church within the area. We host away days, training sessions, family days, craft and baking days and quiet retreats. People come here from all over East Anglia to meet with others but more importantly to have time with God. Prayer and worship have a central part to our activities and God is always the focus of whatever we are doing. We reach across all areas and all denominations. Our only rule is if it isn’t in the bible it doesn’t get taught.
I love it when people come here and encounter the Holy Spirit. It has been called a ‘thin place’ and the healing and ministry that take place here just amazes me. People have time apart from the outside world to rest, focus, heal and just enjoy God’s company – sometimes privately, sometimes in fellowship with others. It’s great to see God’s power in action. I believe in miracles.
During lockdown I have been shown a whole new online ministry which I had never expected. Prayer, bible study, worship, workshops and general fellowship have been precious during isolation and I have learnt that the power of the Holy Spirit works across the internet. (Obviously I know that now but had never considered it before.)
Emerging from lockdown I see the Church as changing from buildings to collective groups of people working across boundaries and denominations, meeting in small groups and online. The scope for us has been increased in God’s power and wisdom by 100-fold and done in months rather than the years it would have taken us in normal circumstances. The Farm by the Water is excited by the way in which this new Church will emerge and can’t wait to lift the name of Jesus high above Suffolk in new and wonderful ways.