Over 7,500 people congregated to the Norfolk Showground to spend a week worshipping Jesus this Summer. The vast majority of that 7,500 were young people, and 80 of that number were from King’s! From a delegate’s perspective, the week was spiritually uplifting and a fantastic time developing relationships with the other campers. What actually happened, though? Each day there were incredible morning and evening services, and please do ask a young person about what they thought of them. Here, though, are some highlights from each day.
Monday: Tents. Or not tents, depending on when you came. Monday was arrival day for the delegates and, while some heroes had come early to set up our marquee during the previous weekend, those who were sharing tents had the bonding experience of trying to battle with the fabric and poles and set up their home for the week. The ground was nice and soft, after the rain that morning, and anybody watching would have been able to see Mr Michael Piefinch (who had only been brought on board the previous night) getting to know the youth by giving them the time it took him to mallet a peg into the ground to tell him about them, before moving onto the next person. A groundbreaking new icebreaking technique.
Tuesday: Gnoman and Football Finalists. Ah, Gnoman. If you’ve not seen the 53cm inanimate man sporting a dinosaur onesie and taped feet (although he started the week with feet intact), you’re missing out. Awarded each day to the tent who best kept curfew, Gnoman was first released on the Tuesday. The girls who won his presence could be seen cradling him like a baby in the evening meeting, where he actually managed to get on the main screens (wearing an alpaca mask, although the less said about that the better). As for the football, the 12-14s boys made it to the final! They did us proud, especially considering the heat.
Wednesday: Heat and Gareth Southgate (sort of). Although the week began with rain, that was a very distant and fond memory by Wednesday. It was really, really hot, and people were struggling. Did that stop one of the members of the youth dress up as Gareth Southgate (mask, long-sleeve shirt, black trousers, waistcoat and all) as part of the 15-19s football tournament? Nope, and the reaction of the team leading the sports (who posted a photo with him on social media) made it all worth it. Continuing the week’s comparative sporting success, the 15-19s reached the quarter-finals. A special shoutout to Joe, whose impressiveness in goal caused a supporter of an opposition team proclaim that they “can’t let it go to penalties” (plus, he’s the one of the Oldfield boys who didn’t get sunstroke from over-exerting themselves at the football…)
Thursday and Friday: Fun Out of the Sun. By this stage, it was much, much too hot for anything. Thankfully, the meetings continued to be full of people worshipping and being inspired by those sharing God’s truth, but King’s didn’t take part in any of the sports on the Thursday or Friday, and the young people were herded over to some shade, where there was a real sense of community and mutual enjoyment. A truly special time as a group. Our marquee was like a sauna over this time, and yet the fantastic catering team worked their socks off to provide plenty of delicious food for everybody, as they did all week. They deserve all the thanks.
Saturday: Rounders Champions and Quiz Night. King’s won the rounders! Was it expected? Not entirely. Did it make our evening meal start late AGAIN (the downside of our sports successes)? Yes. Did Josh Stagg break the trophy before they got back to site? It’s all fixed now, so we don’t need to worry about that. And then, as a group activity on the final evening, we all partook in a quiz, after the final meeting. It was such good fun (and I’m not just saying that because my team won, although that obviously helps) and another example of the theme of the week which was a real sense of community.
Sunday: Bye Bye Friends, Bye Bye Tents. Sunday marked the end of Newday, with everybody returning home having had a truly significant week, meeting with God and building relationships. Before that, though, everybody had to wake up, and Ben Lock and Joe Oldfield got on the case: their cover of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, inserting the phrase “time to wake up”, was easily the most entertaining technique I’ve experienced at a Newday. This was followed by the packing down of tents, a gathering in a circle to pray, and goodbyes.
Overall, a week of spiritual fulfilment, community, fun and way too much sun.