I love the outdoors. I love the moment when my weary limbs clamber over the rocks and at last the cairn marking the summit of the mountain is in view. The frustration of repeated false summits, which offer the allure of completion falls away. The satisfaction as the pile of rocks greet you.
Often the relief of making the top diminishes as you look over the edge and see the next summit looming beyond, and between you and the next target is a lengthy valley, a steep slope to descend, a stream to cross, boggy fields to traverse and then a long slow climb to make the next top.
I like long walks, and I especially like those that involve torturous climbs. After getting the bug, anything too flat borders on boredom.
One other thing I’ve discovered is that being outdoors is great with other people. In June seven fellow crazies and I tried to walk over every peak above 3000 feet in Wales. There are 15 of them and together they make a 33 mile walk with the combined ascent of climbing half way up Everest. And we were trying to do it in a day. You may notice I say ‘tried’. We failed. But with people beside you the failure is less painful and had we succeeded the joy would have been even sweeter.
I could wax lyrically about the wonders of the outdoors, of rock climbing when you hang on a crevice determined to give it one final attempt as your hands shake and your shoulders ache. Of the thrill of kayaking across lakes, white water rafting down waterfalls and camping beneath the stars. And I’m glad I’m not alone in my enthusiasm. It turns out there are other people as crazy as me.
This is what Connect: Outdoor Pursuits is going to be about. We’ll spend time going on adventures together, we want to build a community of people growing together as we do the things we are passionate about. And we want to invite people to join us as we pursue our passions and join with them as they enjoy theirs.
We’re excited about the opportunities this group will provide to help people become followers of Christ, that’s point one of our mission, we want to create space for people to get to know Christ as we get to know one another. This group is about sharing our faith in as we live our lives together.
Secondly, as people who are already seeking to follow Christ we want to grow together. We want to learn more about what it means to be disciples, and we want to learn from God, from his word and from each other about how we can follow Jesus in every area of our lives. This won’t always happen outdoors, it’s a bit cold at this time of year to have Bible study sessions in the park.
Finally, it’s about having fun together. As people who are already enjoying what could broadly be classed as outdoor pursuits we want to live integrated lives where our fun and our faith and our fellowship all come together. We’ve asked ourselves the question: what do we enjoy doing and how can we work within this to grow as disciples and help people become disciples, and gathering with other like-minded people seems like a great way forward.
We’ll be launching properly in January, meeting on Tuesday evenings and figuring out what putting this into practice looks like. If you want to find out more, join us for lunch on 22 November, 13.00 at The Happenstance, EC4M 7AA. for more information.