Blestival 2014


undefinedThe Diocese of Chester's weekend away for 11 to 16-year-olds was this year themed on the ‘Exodus'. The Revd JACKY WISE reports on it … It was probably the smallest group that the Diocese of Chester has hosted for its annual Blestival weekend, but small is, as they say, beautiful, and what a blessed weekend away it turned out to be.

The theme of the Exodus was carefully picked up on throughout the weekend, starting with The Games where the goal was to win the best building materials to be able to make a tent. The programme included elements that our young people absolutely love – including creative worship, workshops, dorm time (basically chill out discussions and catch-up time) and of course, the ever-popular Messy Games.

On Saturday we started with a lovely time of worship followed by the workshops; all were creative, meaningful and fun. Out of the painting and creative arts, and the drama workshops, came some some great creations that were presented in the afternoon.

We were joined at lunchtime by Bishop Keith, after which we had a very interesting, and at times quirky, question and answer session (from “what’s the best and worst bit of being a bishop?” to “how heavy is your hat?”).

Afterwards + Keith said: “It was good to see the young people who were there. I really enjoyed the session and was very encouraged by the way the different groups were engaging with the message of the Exodus. And it was good to see a spirit of mutual encouragement.”

The young people had much fun during the afternoon’s Messy Games, which involved getting covered in jam, jelly and/or flour and were very messy and very wet. It was a resounding success. 

After tea the teenagers listened to a fantastic talk by Sarah Hockley from Youth for Christ. Sarah used to attend YF (Youth Fellowship) in the Parish of Heswall and also chair the Blestival planning team. It’s wonderful to see how she has flourished and is working so effectively for the kingdom. As Sarah is now in demand at events such as the national New Wine meetings we felt very blessed to have her with us for part of the weekend.

The worship saw some amazing transformations happening, with many young people committing themselves (or re-committing themselves) to Christ during the Eucharist on Saturday evening.

Thanks must go to the Revd Mark Montgomery and the ‘volunteer team’ of Joel Hockley, Niall Hammond, Chris and Katy Wilcox and Victoria Barrell from the diocese for all their planning.

Special thanks also go to the young people for attending the weekend and engaging with everything with such enthusiasm. Their excitement was infectious, even if it did mean ‘policing’ dorms after sugar-fuelled night time feasts. That the diocese hosts this event where worship, workshops and fun (and food) are all laid on for us is such a gift.

Next year’s dates will soon be on the diocesan website!

Pictured top - sometimes it’s good to yell … girls at Blestival


Time to eat for the youngsters … alongside Bishop Keith


Fun and games in Shropshire