A number of our churches were represented at this year’s Inspire conference - the New Wine family gathering organised by churches in Yorkshire and the North East held on a farm outside Thirsk between August 18th and 22nd.
In its second year now, the programme included worship, prayer, teachings, seminars on discipleship and mission, and a host of children and youth activities as well as fun for all the family – all held under canvas on a farm near Thirsk.
The Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, shared the stage with two other northern bishops, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, and the Rt Revd John Thompson, Bishop of Selby to talk about the transformation of the north.
Bishop Jonathan also gave an evening celebration based around Matthew 14: 22-36 and the John Ortberg classic: “If you want to walk on the water you have to get out of the boat.”
In it he urged those gathered there to get out of their comfort zone and asked them: “In what way is Jesus maybe calling us to get out of the boat for the sake of his kingdom? Or are we a little too comfortable – or complacent – to be willing to hear what he is saying?.......
“In the midst of the fear and anxiety that so many people feel, in the face of the desire to regain some kind of control over our storm-tossed lives, the one thing that can bring people hope and peace is to discover Jesus and his purpose for our lives and for our world. We need to kindle the flame of the hope in our hearts, in our churches and in our communities. The sea is stormy, but hope and not fear should shape the way we think and the way we act. God has a purpose and a plan – to draw us into relationship with him through Jesus Christ and to equip us to serve him in the world, bringing the transforming love and power of Jesus to every human being and every nation on this earth.
"God is calling us to walk on water – to take risks and do amazing new things for him – but in order for that to happen, we need to be ready to get out of the boat. What would that mean for you – in your own life, in your church and in your community? And are you ready to respond to his call? “
Over the long weekend, speakers included: Paul Harcourt, Miriam Swaffield, Ruth Perrin, John and Anne Coles and Ian Parkinson and it started with a Friday night celebration and ending with a Tuesday morning celebration.
The Archdeacon of Bradford, the Ven Andy Jolley, was one of a number of our clergy and lay leaders who joined Inspire this year.
He said: “It was great to be a part of this extended weekend celebrating something of what God is doing in Yorkshire and the North East with great worship, teaching and fantastic youth and children's ministry. There was also lots of opportunity for church groups to enjoy each other's company while camping together. This is becoming a significant annual event for our region."
You can read Bishop Jonathan's evening piece in full here: http://www.leeds.anglican.org/content/bishop-jonathan-new-wine-evening-celebration-piece