Early in January Roger, Mary, Annie and Helen went away on retreat to start the new year with a good dose of the Holy Spirit and prayer. This annual East Birmingham Renewal Group retreat was once again at Shallowford House, the diocese of Lichfield's retreat centre near Stafford. We were joined by the rest of EBRG - Gill, Brian, Jane, Keith, Alan and Sue and also by Brian Harley, our speaker for the Saturday.
It was wonderful to have Brian with us. He has known Roger and the ministry of CMM for many years, and currently he is the minister at Shanklin URC on the Isle of Wight, as well as the head of GEAR - the group for Evangelism and Renewal in the URC. Two years ago Brian and his family took part in the Lee Abbey music week, and his daughter Sarah has been involved as a team member in a number of CMM events including last year's visit to Ontario, and the current new recording of Apostle.
On Saturday morning we all arrived at the house, and were made very welcome by Simon and Alison Hudson, who are in charge of Shallowford. Brian then shared with us for two sessions in the morning, and one final one before the evening meal after a free afternoon. Brian shared deeply and passionately from 2 Corinthians 4 and 5, which really blessed us all and gave us plenty of food for thought.
Brian managed to get home in time to be back in the pulpit on Sunday morning, leaving the rest of us at Shallowford. After a good breakfast we spent the first session on Sunday morning discussing all we had heard the previous day, and thinking how it will relate to the ministry of CMM. After coffee Alan and Sue led a wonderful ministry session, giving each member of the group chance to be prayed for, and we all listened to God on each other's behalf.
The retreat was the best way to star the year, and we pray that God will continue to speak to us and fire us up for his work in the world.