Archive | July, 2010

Covenanter International Holiday Conference 2010 – Gartmore, Scotland (The Final Cut)

30 Jul

With all four AK writers having been at Gartmore last week, expect unrivalled and probably unnecessary coverage over the next few days, starting with my report of the first four days of the conference. Ali will take up the action with the second half of the week, and James and Andy will weigh in with conference audio, extra photos, and anything else of note.


For 3/4 of this blog, the week began at 05:00 on an overcast Saturday morning. Having been awake until around 3 hours previously due to an ill-advised FIFA tournament, spirits were at an all-time low as we set off in Gavin’s Fiesta towards Larne to catch the boat with the hole underneath. Things went from bad to worse as I became aware of a desperate urge to use the facilities, and as we discovered upon boarding that a fry would cost upwards of six of your British pounds. However the arrival of fellow pioneers Loughridge, Hanna and Moffet helped raise morale, and cameo appearances from Gregg and other less notable Covenanters kept things interesting. During the crossing, we (ie James, Ben and myself – Renwick Pundit was unavailable for comment) entertained ourselves by distilling a month of World Cup action into a single best XI, playing a 4-2-3-1 system – Neuer; Lahm, Pique, Puyol, Coentrao; Busquets, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Sneijder, Villa; Forlan. With this important business taken care of, attention turned to how we could get both Gav’s and Ben’s cars to Hampden Park, and our pre-conference lad’s treat.

Taken at the horribly early departure time of 1:55am

Slightly more excited travellers…

Things brightened up as we hit the open roads of Scotland (mainly because the Sun was rising…)

Predictably our efforts failed miserably. SatGav enabled us to find the home of Scottish football, but with my series of texts to Ben’s passengers being worse than useless, our compatriots found themselves hopelessly lost. Cue a moment of Divine providence – as the four of us were sat in Subway consuming foot after foot of mega breakfast, Ben pulled up at the traffic lights outside, having spent the previous 45 minutes driving blindly around Glasgow! Spotter’s badge goes to Andy Mo. After we had finished our calorific feast, we returned to Hampden, and sampled the delights of the Scottish Football Museum, a fantastic experience packed full of stuff. Then it was time for the stadium tour, where we learnt that Ben isn’t the only one who is a hazard to the public at large with a ball at his feet. There will be more surprises from Hampden at a later date.

The journey north to Gartmore took around an hour, and upon arrival we found a lovely flat campsite for us to pitch our tents on, with nice trees and excellent views stretching eastwards to somewhere else. Gavin and I quickly realised that our 2-man tent was designed for two men who are extremely well-acquainted, and a second tent was obtained from Ben, who had brought, alongside 37 combat knives, enough canvas to cover nine people. Ben’s spare tent later failed us in the middle of the night, which resulted in a very cosy finish to the week as we migrated back to the original tent. Meanwhile those in the dorms were greeted with mints on pillows, complimentary dressing gowns and a Corby trouser press in each room. We don’t know what the facilities were like for residents of the mansion house, as none of them deigned to speak to the lowly campers during the week.

This is what Ali was up to while his tentmates were at Hampden

Tim beside a full and set up Campsite

The Chip Shop in Aberfoyle was a popular choice for Saturday evening’s tea

The conference began officially that evening with icebreaker games organised by Deborah Steele, which were a good laugh, as we watched Americans trying to figure out Switch If. After supper, the first Youth Extra of the week went down, which some well-meaning person had placed Emmaline and myself in charge of for the week. She saved the day by having stuff planned, unlike your correspondent.

Balancing Pete


Sabbath morning started damp and dreary, conditions which were a reminder of why literally tens of holidaymakers flock to Scotland every summer. Morning worship was great, with Bob McFarland risking the ire of parents by distributing US military clickers to about fifty small children. Pastor Bruce Backensto of Beaver Falls RPC, PA preached an excellent exposition of the conference psalm, Psalm 96. Well worth a listen. How great it was to worship our Redeemer with 400 RPs from around the globe!

After a good feed from my dear mother, we returned to the sports hall to hear our conference guest, Faith Cook, speak about her life and testimony. I must confess, my knowledge of Mrs. Cook was limited to knowing her name and that she was an author. But as her story unfolded, it became clear that she is an extraordinary woman, who has experienced times of both extreme sadness and great blessing. She even got to cook for Martyn Lloyd-Jones! Her tale was very moving, and was, for me, one of the highlights of the week. By this stage in the afternoon, a strange, fiery orb had appeared in the sky, and the campsite was bathed in a warm glow. Discussion turned to the local population of Jabberwocks, and their voracity at this time of year.

Sadly I managed to glue my phone to my right hand on the Saturday and so was stuck to it all week

Taking a casual browse through the programme

Evening worship was taken by Gerard Milligan and Andrew Quigley, with Andrew preaching on Psalm 23. Despite it being a well-known Psalm, the exposition was powerful, reminding us of God’s comfort, protection and meeting of our needs. It was great to hear of a preacher obeying God’s call to abandon his original chosen passage and speak as he felt led. After supper, our YE group met for a Psalm sing, and in the smaller confines of the confusingly-named Conference Hall, the praise of fifty sounded louder and better than that of the 400 in the sports hall!


Predictably, Monday was wet, and already this theme was becoming tiresome for those of a camping persuasion. Prof. Robert McCollum gave the first of the week’s addresses on Haggai, and I would love to recount it, but I was helping with the 8-11 year olds, which was great, but in a very different way. Their theme for the week was the life of Joseph, and it was great to hear how much they knew of Joseph’s life, not just the events but why they happened and how God used him in mighty ways.

The official afternoon activity for the under 65s was volleyball, but since this is for girls, we took the opportunity to play our first football of the week. It was a low-key affair, with only six on each side, but the quality was high, helped by a wet and zippy surface on Gartmore’s village playing fields. The trapezoid-shaped pitch only added to the excitement. A tightly contested game finished level, and the resulting penalty shootout was won by one of the teams.

Inside the communal tent during those wet lunch times

After an Apple core, Joel proceeded to then get butter in his eye too

Action from the girls’ sport

John laughs as he sees Ali G getting warmed up…

Visiting a sodden Loch Lomond

Once Gavin and I had cooked for ourselves for the second and final time of the week, it was time for the quiz. A highly regimented operation run by Nancy and her personal army, the highlight for me was the bar chart showing each team’s score. Mere numbers just do not suffice! The only team name to stick out in my mind was the brilliant “Two Wrights Don’t Make A Wrong”. After the quiz, there followed Youth Extra, where Emmaline had organised a night of childish stuff, including plasteceine, a sure winner. Americans got bored and spruced things up with the introduction of Ninja. I’d love to explain this strangely compelling spectacle, but I never played and don’t quite know how it works. It seems to involve Ben staring at his opponent intensely for and extended period, before attempting to strike them as hard as he can. Not so far removed from football then.


The QuizMaster

Kids Games

Pete about to go in for the kill…

Ben playing Ninja


By Tuesday everyone began to slip into a routine: for those on the campsite, each day began at about 05:30 with the squawks of roughly 2735 crows, mixed in with the snoring of several middle-aged RP males. For those in the house, the butler rang a small bell, and each resident would extract themselves from their four-poster beds, don their monogrammed dressing gowns, and await the delivery of their cooked breakfast. Dorm-dwellers had to make do without the monograms on their dressing gowns.

After another instructive and challenging address on Haggai from the Prof, I represented AK at Steelo’s seminar on blogging, Facebook and all that. The rest of them went off to hear some fella Ken Smith, and I’m eagerly awaiting the audio of that being posted up here, after the glowing reports I heard. Far be it from me to recommend the work of the author of a rival blog, but Steelo excelled himself in front of an audience split between young hip-and-happening types, and concerned/curious/deluded over 45s.

In the afternoon, Gavin and Mel organised a Mini-Olympics, which was a resounding success. I was put in charge of the slippery slope, which proved to be a poisoned chalice, as afterwards roughly 50 conferees aged from 3 to 53 tried to slide down it at exactly the same time. Thankfully messrs Loughridge and Moffett came to my rescue and used their BDC voices to calm things down and restore order. One image that will stay with me for years to come is that of Peti Bajko launching his three-year-old son down the slope as if he were a bowling ball.

Getting excited about the Mini Olympics

Gavlar our Leader

Slippery slope action

In the evening, we were treated to a surprisingly entertaining ceilí, with a real band, and no ridiculous line dancing. Ali G got to kiss his Grandmother, and she wasn’t the only one on the receiving end of the smooching. However it would be churlish of me to name names. At YE, more Ninja was played, probably, and some other stuff happened, possibly.

Rebecca and the affectionately named, Crazy Keith

Adam cooling off outside!


My thanks to Cromie for an excellent first half of the week resport, contrary to popular opinion, he must have been just taking notes on his mobile phone during most of the hours of the day! We had indeed hit that midweek stage and by now the Conference was flying in. Wednesday was a big day, firstly and most importanly because the talks on Haggai had just got over the half way stage (which are all now available on the R.P Website with thanks to Jeff!) and also as it was the day for the trip to Edinburgh.

Once the Buses were unloaded, the crowds were pretty much given a free reign around the City, many chose to go on the pre-arranged Covenanter tour which was put together by Andrew Quigley and his Airdre team, others headed off for a shopping trip whilst some simply chose to recline in a restaurant and escape from the monotony of Campsite cooking! Despite it being wet, the trip was enjoyed by all and we all met towards the end at the Grassmarket for a Conventicle. Singing Psalms in the open air along with a gospel message provided by Rev. Quigley was a highlight for me, knowing that this was the location where many brave Christians died for their faith was moving and inspiring, however equally moving was Rev. Quigley’s call to not get caught up in the romanticism of it all as ‘we only honour them by loving Him who loved them’.

Filling up, at 'the Filling Station'

When the cat's away...

My favourite place in the City

For those left at Gartmore and those who had enough sanity not to choose the Watercolour Workshop, a Football World Cup was played…personally I think Another King is close to overflow with Football Reports, so i’m just gonna leave it at that. However, anticipation was high for past members of Boys Discovery Camp as in the evening, PMO would be blowing the dust off his Eric Liddel talk once more and chucking in the Chariots of Fire DVD for another viewing. As always, executed with perfection, an inspiring story of a man who is seen as a great role model by many, fanastically dedicated to his God, and then to his Sport.

By this stage in the week, teenages had done what teenagers do best and had put to bed any sort of arranged and organised fun in the Youth Extra and much lazing about and chatting was done. Quite a few Concert pieces were also being thrown together at this stage, with the excitement building all the time for it too…this was not merely because of the talent on show but rather every one wanted to know what Rob would do next…


It seemed we had seen the last of the rain in Gartmore for the week as the sun was giving us a grand send off for the end of the Conference. The usual morning programme ran smoothly and I finally got to hear a proper version of Ruth Sutherland’s story in her Seminar, which was very challenging when it came to the practical applications of being a Christian in Sport, with a focus on so many vast areas and not just Sport on Sabbath, my mind was working more than usual during that lunch time.

Quite a few options were available in the afternoon, the monkeys among us went off and did their thing on some High Ropes close by, more Football was played, some paid a visit to Loch Katrine and hired bikes, a few cars went off to the nearby Zoo/Safari Park which was another highlight of my week. Despite the initial setback of myself and Abi having to pay full price compared to the rest of the “Students” around us, we had a great afternoon in the sun and saw many cool animals. Ben had his Camera out for most of the afternoon! (Too easy…) After going to both the Sea Lion show and a Birds of Prey demonstration, we made for the cars and went on the wild Safari, driving past Rhinos, Deer, Lions, Camels, any one feeling jealous yet?!

Checking out the Map

One fine looking Animal

It seemed the Lemurs had all left 'Lemur Land'

Getting ready for the Sea Lion Show

Couldn't miss this opportunity at the Gift Shop

Off for a cycle around Loch Katrine

That night brought in the long awaited Concert and after numerous appeals from hosts Tim and Rob, they had a fairly lengthy but decent line up to keep the crowd entertained for the night. As predicted, the line up had a strong American influence and they didn’t disappoint, some great and very talented singing performances from Elle Duguid and Bob McFarland and his Quartet whilst Tim Duguid’s recreation of a thunderstorm was pretty brilliant! Some severe talent was shown by the Irish contingent also, with ‘the Polytechnic Crew’ scraping it through their LOTR song, a memorable Barrie Barr song and the predictably hilarious Graham Fallows.

The Concert also had an unexpected feather added to it’s cap in terms of audience participation when Brenna and Hayley ‘All Star Mr and Mrs. Winners from Camp’ had an idea to create a few signs to give encouragement to the two young hosts. This created great atmosphere for us watching and succeeded in getting a few great lines out of Rob! My personally highlight was when Rev. Wallace McCollum dandered forwards from his seat a few rows back to check out my ‘Show us a Good Time’ poster, he had a chuckle and then went back to his seat. Crazy Keith did get a slot for his Gollum impression after Supper but then the night ended on a great note when Eileen Anderson single handedly topped the boys final act when demanding that young McCaughan drop down to one knee in relation to the poster she was holding in the front row. A great night and credit must go to Tim and Rob for putting on a fantastic concert for the audience, despite a few dodgy jokes in the spaces between acts…

They loved their Chicken Feed

Our Two Hosts for the Evening

JC giving it stacks

The Leaders of the Polytechnic Crew

Effortlessly funny...

Warren provided the Post-Concert entertainment


And so the end of the week was upon us, we were left with a fantastic closing message from Uncle Robert concerning Zerubbabel, God’s servant and then the last Seminars took place. It was a week of fantastic teaching and many thought provoking discussions, once again, it seemed that as all the spiritual aspects of the Conference had worked out so well, so then every thing else seemed to fall into place nicely.

Following this, we had a group photo, then were witness to a slightly weird sight in the ‘Address to the Haggis’ before Lunch and finally sung Psalm 100 to all the staff at Gartmore. Informal Games or a Trip to Stirling Castle was the order of business in the afternoon, but most either spent it lazing about the tents in the sun, heading out for a wee dander to Aberfoyle or playing Football.

Following reports from the Mansion House that the Haggis’ Address clearly wasn’t good enough, we all headed into the Conference Hall for the last time, for an evening of ‘Conference Reflections’, a confusing title but it was an activity that turned out to be a fitting end to the week. Various people came forward and shared little bits and pieces of their history at Conferences past, how God had worked through them since those times, or how those particular Conferences had been blessed. A great time to look back on things and reflect, also as Graham Fallows was in charge, witty asides were a definite between each person.

Following a lovely Ice Cream Supper, the Youth Extra crew gathered on the side of the hill which led to the Campsite for an end of week Psalm Sing and Camp Fire. It was a wonderful feeling to be worshipping God after a great week of blessing with good friends and good surroundings, a memory that will stay with me for a long time. The words of Psalm 24 still are ringing in my ears as we were minded that this was only the smallest foretaste of the glory that is to come.

Our Leader!

And so the evening drew on, and soon it became the early hours of Saturday morning, the fire died down, the Folk/Pop songs ceased and people drifted off here and there either to bed or back to the warmth of the Mansion House. A hardy crew decided to head for a near hill top to watch the sun rise together, an entertaining quest, which seemed a lot harder at night, we were left kicking ourselves come day break as it had seemed we took the most indirect route of the lot.

By 9am, quite a few of the Conferees had already left, those in the House had their last cooked breakfast while the Campers tried to finish off the last of the soggy Frosties. Tired bodies all around but the clean and pack up operation was completed successfully and soon every one was saying goodbyes and heading on their way to various modes of transportation to find their way home across the water. In hindsight, these goodbyes were all short lived as most people met up with a strong contingent of R.P’s on the various sailings back that day, however it was nice to say goodbye to Gartmore and think of the memories that were made there.

Thanks to all involved who made it such a successful week, we at Another King had a thoroughly enjoyable time and we’re looking forward to it again in 4 years time.

Saying Goodbyes

Somerville Senior and Junior

Mastercard don't do Tentmates...

So long, farewell...

Funny CY Typo

29 Jul

Under Lisburn Reformed Presbyterian Church you find…


Extensive Gartmore coverage is on its way!

(Credit for this spot goes to Daniel Ritchie)

Portrush Summer Bible Readings

26 Jul

This is a guest post written by Emmaline McCollum, who very graciously was persuaded to do a bit of advertising the upcoming Summer Bible Readings happening at Glenmanus R.P Church.

As some of you may know, each year, Glenmanus R.P.C hosts its very own Summer Bible Readings.  And no, this is not the only time in the summer we read our Bibles!  They are simply a series of meetings held with the goal of encouraging Christians of all ages, rather than being evangelistic.  In previous years we have men such as Rev Andrew Stewart, Prof Edward Donnelly and Rev John Woodside speaking.  One of my favourite parts of the week each year is seeing so many different churches and denominations come and worship together; singing psalms and being taught from Scripture.

The Venue for the Bible Readings

This year we have Rev Ken Smith coming all the way from Pennsylvania, USA.  He is a well-known retired pastor in the RPCNA and served in Glenmanus in the 1970’s.   He will be speaking about “The Way, The Walk and The Work of Christian Discipleship”.   They take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week at 8pm in the Church.

So, if you have a spare evening this week, come and be encouraged, hear how you can serve God better in this important aspect of all of our Christian lives and enjoy Christian fellowship by the Sea!

Germany + Switzerland RP Mission Team

15 Jul

A few weeks ago I returned from my first RP Mission team, and I’m just getting round to writing about it now that I’ve finally got some free time! As the title of this post suggests, the team was held in Germany and Switzerland, although if this report was in the messenger, no doubt there would be an accompanying map with an arrow helpfully pointed at Turkey or somewhere!

Keeping it real..

If you know your RP churches worldwide, you’ll probably be aware that there are no RP churches in either Germany or Switzerland. The team was working with Trinity Reformed Church in Landstuhl, Germany – not to be confused with Trinity RPC in Mossley. The next question you may be asking is how can 4 non German speakers be of any real use to a Church in Germany? And this would be a valid question, except that everyone in the Church speaks English, or at least they try to – they’re Americans. The US military has an enormous base in south west Germany, and so they are many Americans living in the area.

The Church has been there since 1988, and is a mission work of the South east Alabama Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. It is one of a number of English speaking churches in the area.  An average congregation might number over 150 at morning worship, which is then followed by Sabbath school for both children and adults.  Almost everyone at the Church is in Germany because they are in some way affiliated with the military,and so the membership of the Church is constantly changing as people and families are redeployed to different parts of the world.

Landstuhl, military base somewhere in the background

The team consisted of Jill, Marissa, Sam and myself. The two girls had come over from Americaland for the team, while Sam and I had been interrailing through Europe for 12 days or so beforehand, and had ended up in this small corner of Germany. The primary task of the team was to run a VBS (vacation bible school, better known to us Irish folk as a Holiday Bible Club!) at the Church’s retreat in Switzerland from Monday – Friday. The retreat was held in a tiny little town called Beatenberg, 1200m above sea level right in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Interlaken was the nearest significant dwelling, about 7 miles away, and mostly downhill! I still can’t really believe how incredible the scenery around where we were staying was. Our accommodation was a Christian conference centre which was also a seminary. So if the RPC ever decides to build such a place, they will have trouble beating this for location!



At the VBS we covered a variety of activities, Bible stories, Psalm singing, missionary stories, craft, memory verse, games, prayer and probably more. We had quite an age range to deal with, going from about 12 months old to 12 years old. One team member covered the nursery and the rest took the other kids. Our theme for the week was ‘God’s Mighty Acts’, covering stories such as Solomon asking for wisdom and Jesus feeding 5000. Our team devotions were on the book of Philippians, and we followed this by spending time in prayer.

Me taking the missionary story, covering the incredible life of Hudson Taylor

When we didn’t have the kids a lot of time was spent in planning the activities and schedule for the next day, as there is only so much planning you can do across the Atlantic via email! On some days we joined with the rest of the people at the retreat in some of the activities, the most memorable of which was the “Death March”. We hiked up a mountain in the middle of the Alps, ending up a little village that is only accessible by cable car or walking, and then managed to catch the closing minutes of the USA’s last group game. Suffice to say the Americans were pleased when they scored to top the group.

Marissa, James, Me, Jill

I really enjoyed getting to know some of the people in the Church, and they were some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. The sense of unity in the Church was immediately noticeable and very refreshing. The fact that they were all in a similar situation, living in a foreign country, different language, culture etc, probably contributed a lot to this, as the people depended on each much more than we ever do, and as a result were much more united for it.

So to finish, a few things you can pray for regarding the Church:

  • The pastor of the Church, Brent Saddler, as he ministers to the varied needs of his congregation
  • The families of men who are currently deployed
  • That the children at the VBS will have learnt from what we taught them, and that they will grow up to walk with the Lord
  • That the Holy Spirit will continue to unite the believers in the Church in love for one another
  • For people to sign up to do this mission team in future years, and that God will bless the work as he did ours
  • For families who have to move to a different part of the world at relatively short notice


Emily, Marissa, Arthur, Lousia, Simon


Sam with Joseph and Kevin

The guy in the green shirt was from Newcastle!

Paragliding is pretty big deal around here..


Marissa taking the story

Kevin and Simon

Renwick shirt on tour

We got up to see the sun rise one morning!

I hope I get the opportunity to go back to this Church at some point in the future, it was a blessing to be part of this team. Hope you enjoyed reading this!

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

his greatness no one can fathom

Psalm 145:3 – our memory verse for the week

We got up to see the sun rise one morning!

Gartmore Prayer Points

15 Jul

I recently asked Uncle Robert, this years speaker at the R.P International Conference in Gartmore for some Prayer Points just to help focus ourselves in the run-up to the Week. Here’s what he said:

  1. Pray that the conference speaker (Robert McCollum) will be have grace and strength each day to proclaim God’s Word.
  2. Pray that the messages from Haggai will be preached with clarity and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Pray that as a result of the preaching conferees will be convicted by the truth of God’s Word and be led to renewed repentance and faith.
  4. Pray that the preaching of God’s Word will have a life transforming effect on all present.
  5. Pray that through the conference Christ will have influence on all the congregations represented as conferees return home and share with others what Christ has taught them.
  6. Pray that God will be glorified and Christ exalted as the Word is read and preached.
  7. Pray for the preaching on Sabbath 18th by Bruce Backensto (am) and Andrew Quigley (pm) that through it Christ will advance his Kingdom.

'Get reading Haggai!'

We at AK are looking forward to a good week.

Senior Camp 2010 – Part 1

14 Jul

The official build up to Senior Camp 2010 began on Saturday 3rd July at 12.00pm at the Valley Leisure Centre Football Pitches. It was quite literally a case of men against boys as the Renwick Old Boys XI faced the Renwick New Lads XI for the first time. The game ended 4-0 with Peter Loughridge, Conor Hyndman, Mark McCavery and Ian Buchanan all getting on the scoresheet in an enjoyable encounter played under good conditions. After shaking hands and showering, the true preparations began for making our way down those familiar roads to the Royal School Armagh and where Germany vs. Argentina Senior Camp awaited…

That night, we enjoyed the usual Ice-Breaker games, highlights included Steelo’s ‘soak whoever he wanted’ game and Strob’s ‘marginally dodgy water balloon’ game (which he was loving!). However that strange old Senior Camp tradition rose it’s head again as another pretty bad injury was picked up on the Saturday, by Colin Buchanan this time, official reports show that it was more to do with Bran Flakes than Ben Hanna.

The pre-Camp nerves were all but gone come Sabbath morning as we arose to a cracking breakfast from Stanley and Ruth (who were winning a lot of accolades from seasoned campers very early on in the week) and then all minds were focused on Morning Worship and Rev. Albert Baxters first talk. (All of Albert’s talks can be found on Enniskillen’s very snazzy new website) For me, the fears of another unknown speaker were put to bed immediately as Albert opened up God’s word to us and preached with confidence and with practical application. But we’ll come back to the talks…

The rest of Sunday flowed very smoothly, as well as the usual walk around the bustling city of Armagh, we had a chance to listen in on an interview with the Committee which proved to be insightful and helped us to get to know them a wee bit better. Nathan Hawthorne led Evening Worship and then the usual time of Psalm Singing followed which is always a highlight for me, not just the way the tunes are marvellously sang, but the meaning put behind the words which are belted out.

Sabbath Afternoon Walk

Our Speaker for the week, alongside one of many of Andy Harvey's legendary t-shirts!

Monday Morning brought that excited feeling to pretty much every one as we looked forward to a week of teaching, fellowship, exercise, food and fun. Having laid the foundation for the talks on Sabbath Morning by challenging us all on our Love for One Another, we went to look at our Link with One Another on Monday, a message which this writer was heavily challenged by and Rev. Baxter gave great insight into how we have a responsibility to look out for others and not live as solitary Christians.

Of course we all knew what awaited us on Monday afternoon, Chip (and John’s) Challenge, consisting of quite a few wet and tricky games, but mostly provided every one an opportunity to soak every one else. To the sweet relief of the boys, Slippery Football made a return!

Tom had definitely got that Monday Morning Feeling!

Enjoying the success of the Afternoon

Letitia and Cromie both left bemused by Monday's Dinner

Tagging also commenced on Monday, Ben seemed to be every one's target...

Monday evening was the usual Team Challenge brought by both Mary and Deborah. This year, focusing on a World Cup Theme, there were various tasks given to us. These included doing the most Keepie Uppies (which Conor Hyndman won?), making the best Goal and Celebration combo (where Ben excelled as a Pastor and Jonny McCollum’s group sniffed the Touchline) and then we were given the chance to doll up two members of the team to design the ultimate Footballer and WAG pairing. A Fashion Show followed, which led many of the guys to question the Theme which so far had included dancing and dressing up, however, some hilarious commentary for each couple was provided and it turned into a great night.

Rebecca and Brendan

Our Team was shocked at how good they looked together!

Aaron Bell with his WAG and Steelo's Irish Commentary

'Bing the Merciless' and Mark

The one thing a Senior Camp Supper shouldn't be without!

Monday's Nightwalk

So back to the talks, we recieved 4 more during the week, each as challenging and as practical as the last. This made it so easy to talk about them with other Campers, to share our views and thoughts on them and you could tell that the majority of the Camp was enjoying them because of how most said of the challenges they had recieved from them, how easy they were to listen to and how you could really see practical applications in our own lives. I’m not going to go into a massive exposition of the talks, simply to say that the first three dealt very much with ourselves and our faith compared to the last 3 which then built on that by including the practical outworking of our faith. (I’d really recommend to listen to these if you have the time over the Summer!) Straight after the talk each day, the usual prayer time took place, which as in previous years has been such a blessing. To get in a group of different people each day and pray to God, you can learn so much during those times as well as be greatly encouraged to hear the numerous voices and whispering around the room, each praying to the same God.

Tuesday meant that it was time to get on buses at Senior Camp and head for Newcastle, the usual jokes about how long it would take came and went and we finally left Armagh to head for either an afternoon of Football, Bouldering or dandering around the promenade and inevitably ending up in Mauds. To Steelo’s disappointment, we only got the usual “Warren-point” and “Aaron Bell” songs sang before the guys became deeply involved in a game of 5-Star which took up both bus journeys.

Jonny and I were still friends at this point of the journey...

To be continued….

Senior Camp 2010 – Part 2

14 Jul

We all met up for a BBQ at the foot of the Mountains before heading back to Armagh in time to watch the Netherlands vs. Uruguay game. The girls were also treated that night to a ‘Pamper Night’ in the Lecture Theatre while some just stayed in the Common Room to play some games.

Tom and Ruth

Camp was going ahead at usual lightspeed as it was Wednesday already, by mid-week of Camp, it was evident that some tiredness was setting in. However, we were spending another day on-site doing a mysteriously named ‘Old Time Carnival’ in the afternoon. It was Robert Robb’s finest hour as he had invented a series of different tasks and challenges (that went IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION).  Chip’s Coconut Shy, Mary’s Brainteasers, John’s Sponge Throw and Robert’s Shooting Range were just a few of the tasks, a particular highlight for me included seeing Aaron Bell scalp the Currie’s car with a golf ball while trying to aim for some thing two feet in front of him. Oh yes, another highlight was my team winning… :)

After the Carnival was over, there was quite a bit of free time to use before Dinner so some went to raid Sainsbury’s, others played Football and the usual crowd gathered for an intense game of Volleyball to work up an appetite.

That night was the now traditional ‘Holy Night’ of Camp where we had two seminars on Homosexuality and Euthanasia, dealt with by John George and Nigel Agnew. Both were thought provoking and provided us Campers with a greater knowledge of these subjects which can often be taboo words. (Also Evie and Mark nearly burst out laughing in the middle of one…guess which?!) A time for questions was allowed and then most rushed off for a quick supper and down to watch the recorded Spain vs. Germany Semi Final and others headed off for a walk and back to the Common Room, and then Wednesday was over…

Andy Mo and Carnival Pete

Joel practising some 'Seductive Eating' techniques

Both made their token appearances during the Week

Fair play to Andy Carmichael, took a few for the team here!


Bun and his Coconuts

Taking his anger out on the Committee

On the way to Sainsbury's...

The two 'responsible' ones on the Walk

Ben looking oddly cheery?!

Slug experiencing some difficulty

On Thursday we again packed up into Buses and headed off for the relatively unknown and remote Todd’s Leap, however we were assured that we would have a ‘Muddy Marvellous’ time so the mood on the Bus was of excitement and anticipation. Some were a bit tired by this stage in the week so some people slept or stuck the iPod in, (though 5 Star continued) and we eventually reached our location.

After spending far too long sitting in a shed doing an exercise which Peter Loughridge stated that ‘he might find useful for Boys Discovery Camp’, we eventually got into doing the various activities around the centre. The range included Archery, a big blow up Water Slide, Paintballing and Blindfold Driving, in fairness to the crazy woman in charge, the theme tunes did add some thing to the afternoon, especially when seeing Cromie Robert’s dance moves to our team’s tune, ‘Barbie Girl’.

Todd’s Leap turned into a pretty good adventure for Camp, every one enjoyed themselves and the activites were decent craic. My favourite bit was the truck ride to the Archey Range!  There was some controversy however as the grand prize of going for a ride in some big car was given to clearly the worst team. And after a big group photo, we were all shipped back to Armagh again.

Ali G with his Hareem

Getting ready for the big Slide

Hayley had just let one go...

Skills Junior

Traditional Party Boys, Stevie and Mark led the show on Thursday evening as an un-precedented change in Senior Camp’s schedule meant that the Concert was moved forward a day (apparently to give people more time to prepare for the Concert?). It seemed the jury was still out on this decision, however, most just embraced the change and worked up a sweat on the dancefloor. Before the party, the boys were harshly reprimanded for their immodesty throughout the week so it seemed that shorts were forbidden for the party. You also probably heard that I was dragged off to a Wedding Party so I actually missed it, but I was reliably informed that Steve did a good job and a lot of “Oh!”ing was done.

Stevie leading the way

Andrew Harvey pulled out another quality T-Shirt!

Clearly singing 'Boys, Boys, Boys' all week didn't put them off...

And so Friday rolled around the corner, the week had flew by, and after our final talk, we looked forward to a day of good activites in good weather. Friday afternoon brought every one’s favourite activity, Competitive Sports, where each team had to excel at Football, Tennis, Bucketball and Volleyball to earn the right to be called Champions. It’s always a good afternoon and things generally aren’t too competitive which meant it was even better than expected. I always love this about Camp, combining two of my favourite things, friends/good company and Sport, looking round and seeing every one enjoying themselves after a week of close fellowship always makes me realise how special Camp is for all involved. (Of course the McKelvey brothers arriving was also a highlight!)

After the official programme was finished, we launched into more Sport as games of Football and Volleyball continued long into the afternoon as others left to practise their routines for the Concert. After we came in, we had our last Evening Meal served up by the cullinary geniuses of Stanley and Ruth who had done a fantastic job all week and we are in for some seriously good food at the next few Camps if they started as they mean to go on! A big thank you to Stanley and Ruth for all their hard work during the week.

Bun and Mark getting phscyed for the Afternoon

Stanley and Ruth, best newcomers to Camp!

Gavin makesafunnyfacewell

We got some Spinnies in before Friday Lunch too

Excitement was building for the Games

Alice showing off her Paintball Battle Scars

Weird Head Massager thing!

And so the Games began...

A big well done to Mary who organised the Afternoon!

Robert and Lorna

Great action shot of Strob

Calvin's Forfeit

Pete claimed the bragging rights from the Afternoon!

And so, it came to the climax of Camp, the Friday evening activity, the legendary Senior Camp concert, with Joel and Steelo the hosts, who knew what crazy theme they would decide to use this year…

Minutes later, two highly fake tanned men were standing in front of us blowing their Vuvuzela’s and speaking in what sounded like a geordie accent, I knew it would be a good night from then on. The crowd enjoyed a good range of Concert acts that night, musical talents were displayed from Rachel Throne and Gareth McFarland, ‘Mall Favourites’ Chris Hughes, Michael Hamilton and Mark Armstrong tried to break some records, King Agabubu made an appearance and Jonny read a poem in the usual style of Frances McCollum.

My favourites however were Ali Rolleston and Cromie performing a wonderful duet with a tribute to Pete Fallows in there; as well as the game of Mr and Mrs, including the Robbs, the Curries, Andy Morrison and Erin McCollum and Brenna ‘Cheeky Face’ McEwen and Hayley ‘Duck Pond’ Rolleston.

All in all, it turned into a decent concert with a few good laughs here and there. A big thanks must go to the Committee who made it such a special week and also to Robert and Lynn Robb who saw out their 3 year tenure as Camp Leaders, a good job done by both and they can now relax as we all look forward to the Herron’s who will be next years.

Joel and Steelo

Lean on Them

Mr and Mrs Winners

Trinity CY need some one to love them....any one?

Anselm and Brendan

He did regret one line....

Warren the Concert Winner!

On the last night walk, I struggled to think how quickly the week had flown by, reunited with many good friends, making new ones, learning loads, having such good craic. To be honest I think a second week would have been amazing, but it did have to come to an end, and after the ‘SEE YEEE’S’ on Saturday Morning, I knew that this Camp was well and truly over. So many good memories to cherish, this Blog report sadly can’t contain them all.

My verse of the week was Psalm 27:13-14 which we sang at Worship on Friday evening, and I shall leave you with this:

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Saying Goodbyes

Sad to be leaving

We made up in the end...

Offering a last bit of Cheesecake around

On the Bus Home

Bravo Senior Camp. Over and Out.