Corrymeela, Ballycastle. Prince Charming, the strawberries and I first went to Corrymeela with just such a group as this- a church family enjoying time away together, three generations all catered for and enjoying blissfully fabulous weather.
I was there as a Community member, on Cover Duty for the weekend. I usually go on Presence Duty, as this mostly involves giving people tours, drinking lots of tea with them, having interesting conversations with people from all over the world and all over its opinions, and then getting out your crochet.
This weekend, however, I: sorted out two heating issues, made tea and coffee and juice and biscuits for 168 people inside the space of an hour, helped an older lady who was feeling poorly, discovered in the process that the wheelchair is in the lift and thus the code for the lift, filled in many, many accident report forms, gave out many, many ice-packs and comforted many, many children (not necessarily in that order), did one tour, explained the community to everyone who asked, and thankfully avoided sorting the fire alarm because Night Cover had taken over, though I did have to rouse two impossible to rouse strawberries and get us all out of the building!
You can imagine, then, that as I arrived to lead Evening Worship on Saturday night I hadn't had much time to prepare! Earlier in the day the wonderful Barbara, half of the centre's resource couple had lent me a copy of the centre's Evening Liturgies. It now became clear to me why I hadn't been able to read past this sentence in the second paragraph of the first page:
All words are inadequate; we use them tentatively.
Corrymeela is not summed up in words. It is summed up in the resident volunteer who saw the cover person flop down at her dinner table, populated entirely by children , two of whom were hers, all stoked on Lemon Fanta procured at the vending machine on the proceeds of coins counted from their mothers' purses. This volunteer saw that there was no jug of water on the table before the exhausted cover person realised this herself. By the time the cover person had dragged herself back off her bench, negotiated three bins and a room full of 102 Baptists and got to the tap on the other side of the dining room, this volunteer had a jug of water ready and set it into the cover person's hands with a kind and knowing smile.
Preach the Gospel. Use words if you must!