Laura Medler shares her experiences from previous weekend aways and how it has benefited her with her walk with God and integration at Emmanuel Church:I'm Laura and I moved to Oxford in 2012. I moved here to study social work at Oxford Brookes University and I've been working as a social worker in adult social care for the past 3 years. I've been attending Emmanuel since I moved to Oxford, so I've been to the weekend away both as a student and as a graduate.
I've always found the weekend away to be a great time to spend with friends, away from the usual hustle and bustle of Oxford life. More importantly, it's also an amazing opportunity to get to know people that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to spent time with otherwise. As a result it's helped me to feel much more established in the church and has given me a much better understanding of Emmanuel's vision.
For me, some of the best bits of the weekend in the past have been going on (a usually very muddy) walk in the Northamptonshire countryside, having extended times of worship and spending hours playing pool... but still not getting any better at it.
When I look back over the years, the weekend has actually been a very significant time in terms of God speaking to me, both directly and through others. It has been invaluable at helping me hear God's voice better and the moments God has spoken to me at the weekend away have been pivotal in shaping decisions I've made and deepened my relationship with God. I've found it particularly helpful in this transient time of life, to spend extended time being encouraged and refreshed by God as well as listening to what he may have planned for the future – he always surprises me!
For anyone unsure whether to sign up, or wondering whether you have the time in your busy schedule to go – I would say that I've often thought this too, but I've always been so glad that I went! So my advice - sign up!