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Welcome, Joy and Laughter: My Celebrate Debut

Author: Teresa Brown

Picture: Pxfuel

Welcome, Joy and Laughter: My Celebrate Debut

Teresa Brown shares how inviting a friend, and then attending a Celebrate weekend together, affected them both profoundly.

In need of a break after several months of hospital treatment, I looked for a weekend away with something good to do.

It was a few years since I had attended a Catholic charismatic event. However, after seeing various Celebrate events advertised online, I recognised the names of some good speakers such as Michelle Moran and David Wells. There was also the music of One Hope Project and Eamonn and Dominic, so I decided that St Alban’s Celebrate weekend was the place to go.

I mentioned this to a friend whose husband had died earlier this year and asked if she would like to come. I was surprised but pleased when she said yes, as she had not been to any charismatic events before.

"People are going to be weird"

This is how she described her response to my invitation to Celebrate St Albans:

“I was persuaded to attend by a friend and somewhat reluctantly agreed. Having no idea what to expect, and various scenarios running through my head as Saturday approached, I was trying to think of any excuse to get out of it.  Thoughts were running through my head: it’s going to be like those dreadful USA TV services, and people are going to be weird- but not in a good way!  I can’t be doing with all the waving, swaying and grinning- and there won’t be any holy quiet meditative time or peaceful feelings. Speakers will be shouty and arrogant.”

That was before we went. So how did she get on as a first timer to Celebrate, as someone fairly new to charismatic events in the Catholic Church? Here’s the feedback she wrote after:

“WELL! How wrong I was. Gladly you were none of this- and my sceptical thoughts were completely removed.  I have experienced education, truth, shared knowledge, faithfulness, deep emotional feelings, prayerfulness, peace and acceptance, spirit-filled joy and laughter. I have a certainty that there is a message for all of us if we choose to hear it, and work to be done.  Special thanks to Grace and Tom for “time in the tent” and Tim for his workshop session. The cage I had locked myself in was well and truly rattled, and the door left open.  Special thanks to the following people for a wonderful weekend: to the speakers David and Michelle in particular, whose delivery of the message and word was so clear and simple.  To the musicians and tech support and link personnel who provided such peace and uplifting songs and harmonies in equal measure.”

Have Courage!

It felt like it was God’s timing for both of us to be there and I was glad that my friend had such a good experience. 

As for me, the “time in a tent” – 10 minutes listening to two young people praying God’s word for me – was really helpful. Exploring creativity in a workshop I went to and finding peace in the quiet of the Prayer Stations-both of these were a blessing.

I loved the music, the worship, the poetry and the special meal on Saturday evening, with David Wells as the “after-dinner speaker.”

Michelle’s talks were inspiring and encouraging, as always, and I came away with renewed courage to try to make a difference where I live. This is hardly surprising, given that the theme of the conference was Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Would I go again? Yes. Would I invite someone new to Catholic Charismatic Renewal to come with me again? Yes! Would I recommend anyone else to do the same? Yes, definitely. Have courage!

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