This year’s VCF Family Weekend was once again a hybrid event with more than 140 people at the beautiful Quinta Christian Conference Centre in Shropshire, whilst another 40 joined online through the weekend.
We have asked folk for a taster of their thoughts about the weekend, whether present in person or online, and this edition of VCF News hopefully gives you a real sense of the value of the conference.
“Once again, the VCF weekend was a time of joy, fellowship, laughter, good food, challenge, encouragement, deepening friendships, meeting new people, being inspired by the heart the students have to share the gospel with their peers, prayer…….. and obviously the amazing ceilidh, with VCF’s very own ceilidh band. It is such a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by people who get it and who can share in the joys and struggles of the unique profession of which we are part. The only downside is that a weekend just isn’t long enough, but I came away refreshed, and with a renewed sense of God’s purpose for me at work.”
“My personal highlights would have to be sharing in some great conversations with old friends, having a chance to slow down and reflect during Fiona’s seminar on spending time with God in the middle of our busy lives and being encouraged by David’s talks on the glory of God.”
“My favourite part of the weekend was meeting other VCF members and both worshipping and hearing God’s word together. I have been a member of my local VCF for about 13 years, but this was the first time I had made it to a Conference! I just loved being around so many other people, hearing their stories, praying with them, getting to know them and their families (I was on my own), and seeing people making connections with other vets from their regions. There was such a diverse age range too from young children to those in their 80s. If you haven’t been before, come next year, you won’t regret it.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to catch up with and be encouraged by old friends, to meet new people and to enjoy God’s creation.”
“I met my first boss from 1986. The first time I’ve seen him in more than years. Now that was special. I was also able to catch up with other good friends of mine.”
“My favourite part of the VCF weekend was worshipping together. It is so encouraging to join with so many brothers and sisters and join in praise together. The band were brilliant, guided again by Pete Duncalfe, who did a fantastic job putting together a beautiful video blending the musical contributions from members across the fellowship.”
“My favourite part of the weekend was realising how many years of prayer for the RVC students were answered for our CU to grow as much as it has.”
“I was excited to meet someone who did EMS with us in Thailand in the 90’s!”
“We could only attend on the Saturday, but our favourite parts of the weekend were the location of the meeting, meeting new people and the warm welcome we received.”
“It was fantastic to see lots of new people at the weekend and great to see new connections and friendships formed.”
“It is always such a pleasure to meet with Christian vets, to link up with new people and renew old friendships. VCF is a niche but an excellent one!”
“I loved seeing God providentially link me to Christian vets with mission connections whom I had been told about in the past.”
“It was a joy to catch up with old friends and a delight to make new ones!”
“The Quinta was such a beautiful venue. I felt a sense of peace whenever I heard all the birds chirping.”
“It was great to finally meet in person with folk working overseas.”
“For me, I enjoyed every minute of the weekend and meeting so many people for the first time. The singing, teaching, fellowship, food, and accommodation were all first class.”
“The ceilidh was amazing, and I was so glad that we had more space to spread out and dance.”
“I had such fun at the ceilidh, as I think we all did, although I realised how unfit I was after about 5minutes!”
What was it like joining online?
“The online group was amazing and there were people logging in from all over the world! Suzanne did a great job of chatting to us, getting us all to talk about where we lived and worked and other stuff. She had such a lovely way about her. Yes, there were a few IT challenges, but we were all patient, and the techies did you proud. I was especially surprised that, even though we could not be part of the live worship due to copyright issues, John Knight went to the bother of putting the same songs on for us and we all sang along”.
“Joining online was such a blessing, as flying from Germany was not a practical option this year with all that is happening at work. I loved being able to fellowship with the online attendees and praise God together. I felt cared for, remembered and significant. I appreciate the realness of everyone who shared their life
struggles and just how God is moving in the midst of it all.”
“Being able to take communion with you from the other side of the world is always my favourite part of the weekend.”
“I loved it that I was able to join the conference from another country. I felt welcomed and it was precious to worship our Lord together with you all from my living room.”
“It was wonderful to be on Zoom, to make new friends and meet old ones! It was great to see such zeal for Jesus in the profession, especially amongst the students. I really felt part of the proceedings.”
“A huge thank you to Helen, Mike, Suzanne and John for hosting us all so well on Zoom!”
“It was such a joy to hear from so many people who had sent in short videos of greetings as they were unable to join the weekend in person or online, such as Anthony Smith pictured below”
“What a moving ‘Word’ from a 1969 graduate Zooming from his garden shed.”
What was the sung worship like?
“The many and varied voices and instruments raised together in harmony to God’s praise has to be an excellent picture of the VCF. A fragrant offering, pleasing to the Lord!”
“Raising our voice in song with VCF members near and far was a special blessing. It is possibly one of the only good things to come out of the lockdown years!”
“It was amazing to have an ‘orchestra’ to lead us in worship under the skilful leadership of Pete Duncalfe.”
“The worship was powerful, and it was lovely to be together with such a big group of vets, nurses and others praising God.”
“My absolute favourite part of the weekend was playing in the amazing worship band.”
“It was a real privilege to be involved with this band.”“As for the worship band, such fun. It was such a pleasure to be part of it. Such a spirit filled presence and, with thanks and glory to you Lord, was such a blessing to all!”
And Pete Duncalfes VCF Video song for this year!
“The Video song was a masterpiece from Peter Duncalfe bringing musicians together virtually. It was great to be a part of it too.”
“This was absolutely gorgeous and hearing the whole room filled with voices was amazing.”
“It was amazing how different people from different locations managed to put together such a wonderful video song that sounded great!”
“The whole weekend was all great, but I think I enjoyed the worship the most, especially the video song.”
“I absolutely loved the video song and was singing it around the house for days afterwards. I went to church the next week, walked in slightly late, and guess what they were singing?! I love these collaborations and they’re such a great way to bring people together in worship all across the world. Great work and thank you to the team who brought it together.”
“This is so beautiful. I have watched it since the weekend and shown it to a friend.”
David Tisdall was the guest speaker for the weekend
“David spoke faithfully and reverently and drew our eyes to fix them on God’s glory. Words cannot capture the thanks he is owed for this life-giving service.”
“David spoke well on the ‘Glory of God’. I had never before thought of praying to see God’s glory. David also reminded us that God made us to reflect his glory (Psalm 8:5). The take home message I felt was that it was better to stay in the desert with God than to cross to the promised land without God (Exodus 33:15-16).”
“His ministry was inspiring. Good Biblical theology explained and well applied!”
“David’s talks were really good, and I appreciated that we had time to discuss them in groups during the final session.”
“His talks were really good and very relevant to life.”
“His talks were such a blessing.”
“His talks were very inspirational, and it made me understand more about God’s calling.”
“David led us into the glory through well-chosen passages. I was much encouraged.”
What about the children and young peoples programme?
“I felt very warmly welcomed by the rest of the VCF family and was amazed to see how quickly and comfortably my kids fitted in, especially one who struggles with new places and people. Thank you so much!”
“The first thing my two-year-old said when he woke up in the morning was to ask to go to the children’s work!”
“My son enjoyed the weekend immensely and came back revived and rested. He enjoyed the youth ministry about Revelation, the ceilidh, and the food, particularly the puddings!”
“We had a great weekend as a family at Quinta. The kids loved going to their first ceilidh and had lots of fun in their youth groups. Thanks so much to Mary and her mum for running those!”
“The food was delicious, and the girls had a great time too, socialising with other teenagers.”
What were the Saturday afternoon seminars like?
“I attended the seminar on ‘Juggling Life and Keeping Christ on Top.’ It was a very interesting discussion about how we make time for Jesus in our busy lives. We looked at Psalm 84 with lots of ideas from the group about how to keep Christ on top.”
“I attended the Romania seminar, and I enjoyed how Diana spent time talking about the vet side of her life and what she has been learning about God.”
“I loved Fiona Lovatt’s talk. It was inspiring, helpful, and insightful. Since the VCF weekend I now have a friend who passes on daily devotional messages. This really helps me start the day in the right way and helps put Jesus at the centre.”
“The seminar I attended was a masterclass on revelling in God’s creation courtesy of an excellent walk organised by Vikki, facilitating tramping over beautiful countryside with great company and happy dogs!”
“Somehow we managed to get everyone to the start of the walk at the same time through a combination of Sat Nav programming, Google maps pins and a convoy! The dogs were mostly well behaved and no sheep or other livestock were harassed. Christian and Ems released their adventurous sides, climbing the walls of Selattyn Tower, which was falsely advertised at only one storey high! Ben went a bit Bear Grylls with his route planning but overall the walk was within the allotted time limit and we all made it back unscathed, so we’ll call that a win! It was great to just get outside in creation and marvel at the glory as David Tisdall had been saying. And it worked up an appetite for tea and cake when we got back!”