Each year we go on a number of retreats (usually about once per term), to spend time with God and with each other, discussing, reflecting and enjoying each other's company.
Plans for retreats in Michaelmas Term 2014 are in their very early stages, so keep your eyes peeled!
Our most recent MethSoc retreat was in Hexham; last academic year we also enjoyed joining with DUECC (Durham University Ecumenical Christian Council) on their retreat and events post-exams in Lindisfarne.
In Michaelmas Term 2012, we spent a weekend at Seahouses Methodist Church and the theme of our weekend was "Leading a Christian Life: Choices For Today."
"The weekend we spent away in Seahouses this term was fantastic! It was so chilled out, and it offered the chance to have deep and meaningful discussions but also a lot of fun. I find a chance to break the bubble and get out of Durham incredibly helpful, and Seahouses Methodist Church were extremely welcoming. As soon as we arrived, we were asked to join with their Friday fellowship meal and had a chance to meet members of the church. Later that evening, we had our introductory session, thinking about why we were there and the kinds of choices we face in life in the 21st century. On Saturday morning, we had a brief session of morning worship, and our chaplain Julie came and led a Bible study. After lunch, we had some free time, and the chance to explore Seahouses - and go to the beach! A bit of down-time, takeaway for tea, and the evening discussion proved very interesting as we discussed charity, the environment and our outlooks on life! On Sunday morning, we attended the church's morning service, had lunch and packed our things away, and were all-too-soon on our way home again! Yes, retreat means sleeping very little and camping out on the floor; but the warm welcome of the church, chance to get away and explore themes and discussions with such a fabulous and friendly group was well worth it!"
MethSoc enjoy working closely with the two Methodist Churches based in Durham city centre. In mid-November, we held a stall at the Elvet Methodist Church Autumn Fayre - we asked people to "guess the number of sweet things in the jar", bounce balls into a bucket to win prizes, and to answer our hymn quiz! It was a very enjoyable morning, and the combining all the fundraising, refreshments and stall revenue meant that over £1,000 was raised for this year's Elvet Church Project, a mentoring scheme run by Durham Youth for Christ. The following day, we were invited to help prepare (and eat!) at the Church Anniversary lunch. The Revd. Leo Osborn, former President of Methodist Conference, led morning worship, followed by a delicious lunch and a talk about Revd. Osborn's year of travelling and representing the Methodist Conference. The meal was wonderful and, even in a small way, MethSoc were able to help prepare food, set the tables and clear away afterwards, joining in with the helpers from the Church's congregation and Junior Church.
Last academic year (2011-2012) saw us go to Saltburn Methodist Church in Michaelmas Term, we hosted the National Student MethSoc Conference in Durham in January on the theme "Interact: How do we interact with God, other people and the world?" and after exams we visited Westend Methodist Church in Hexam and a couple of members went on the Ecumenical retreat to Lindisfarne.
Not strictly a retreat, but the summer saw current and previous MethSoc members meet up at GreenBelt festival in Cheltenham for a long weekend of talks, discussions and worship.