On Fire Conference

coffee break 2

coffee break

coffee break 1

coffee break!!again?

On Fire Conference 2015

I would like to tell you my experiences of my first visit to the On Fire Conference, with Jude & 5 others of our congregation. The rest of our group had all attended before so I’d had some feedback from them but still felt a bit nervous.

The On Fire Mission is a network, rooted in the Church of England but open for all, clergy & laity alike. It is dedicated to promoting Charismatic renewal blended with the riches of Catholic spirituality. The conference was hosted at High Leigh, which is a beautiful family house built in 1853 with 40 acres of lawns, parkland & woodlands, making a very tranquil setting.

The conference started with an evening liturgy service & an introduction to the conference which was headed “Crossing Boundaries “. This was followed for me, to a Welcome Reception, to meet all the other first timers…. & the ministers who would be leading the services. It was great to be able to talk to other like-minded Christians & hear their backgrounds.

After dinner which is held in a bright & airy Orangery, we gathered in the Conference Chapel for song worship before our Eucharist service. The service & the music was absolutely wonderful but by this time, I was really struggling with all the noise. I have a hearing problem so have to wear 2 hearing aids, & with so many people (about 200) & the acoustics’ in the dining hall & chapel, it was very difficult. I was feeling very out of my comfort zone & wondered what the Lord was doing to me. I excused myself when it had finished & took myself back to the solitude of my own room. I must admit I didn’t sleep much that night & ranted to The Lord, as to what he was wanting of me & why he had brought me to this place?

I felt a lot calmer the next morning, more like my normal self, & after a delicious breakfast, attended the first of the talks given by a very humorous Vicar, Dave Tomlinson from Holloway, in north London. He told some wonderful stories of the EastEnders he had got to know & respect & his ministry on the edge. He really lives his faith & he stilled my inner worries & l found a real healing in my heart from what he preached.

After our break for coffee, we had the choice of two workshops or you could take time out. I decide to take myself off on my own & walk through the beautiful parkland, being close to God’s creation & talking with God really calmed me & I really started to enjoy my time with all these wonderful uplifting Christians. From then on the noise didn’t seem to affect me & I just threw myself into all the worship services, singing & workshops.

In the afternoon I went to the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines workshop on “Ministry on the edge” He was talking about his life & work & explaining to us the difference in being on the edge which is in fact being right in the middle of things. He encouraged us to open our hearts to the infinite love of our Lord, which has NO boundaries.

I was starting to feel more On Fire now & comfortable, so took myself to the Exposition of the blessed Sacrament & Benediction service. I have never been to such a powerful & spiritual service, very quiet & meaningful. I felt so at peace & touched by God, with everything I had seen. I couldn’t believe how different I felt from the night before.

After dinner we gathered again before the Eucharist service for the worship singing. I really enjoyed all the singing, some hymns I knew others I didn’t, but sat & listened. Other hymns with the most meaningful words & all sung with such joy & enthusiasm. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit working & moving in that place, in the music, praise worship & in people’s lives. I don’t think I have ever felt such love & caring between people before. I felt a blessing to be part of that gathering.

Bishop Nick Baines celebrated the Eucharist followed by prayer ministry.

He also took the worship & Bible study session the next morning. Well, l have to say I learnt so much that morning as he explained so many points from our Bible reading. He told us that when “Receiving the love of Jesus, we have to let go & be led by him” We must take responsibility & commit to owning our calling. What powerful words to remember & take with us into the future.

Our afternoon speaker was Margaret Sentamu (the wife of the Archbishop of York) She spoke about her life in Uganda & England & her family. She also told us of her experiences of Crossing Boundaries & her independent consultancy work she is involved in, in all her different organisations.

The Lord called me to the Benediction service again & I found it just as moving this time & I actually went up for prayer ministry. The feeling of being held in the Holy Spirit is hard to describe, but the warmth of being enveloped, loved & healed by Jesus Christ is a blessing I have never experienced before & shall never forget. I also give thanks for the gentleness of those people who ministered to me.

That evening we were treated to a Jazz Eucharist service which was very different but very enjoyable. Some of our group were involved with the singers which made it even more special for us.

On our last day the last Eucharist service was accompanied by Anointing, which was a blessing for everyone.

I left The On Fire Mission a very different person & felt I had experience an amazing time with 200 Christians all filled with the Holy Spirit, who cared & nurtured each other during our time of ministry & worship, to The Lord.

From starting off feeling so out of my comfort zone, I ended with a feeling of elation & being uplifted & strengthened in my faith.

walking in the grounds

walking in the grounds

Cherry looks forward to the worship

Cherry looks forward to the worship

Lynne waves a flag

Lynne waves a flag

I give thanks that I was encouraged to join the On Fire Mission & l intend to be there again next year. I would like to encourage anyone to experience what I have this year. I have truly been blessed. Cherry Brooks