Holiday at Home, what on earth is that? Well if you are sitting comfortably I’ll explain. Holiday at Home is intended to bring a holiday experience through visits, shared activities, entertainment and food to those who no longer normally have the chance to go away. The premise is that those of our church’s members who may be less able to enjoy the fellowship of attending church and who might be feeling isolated have the opportunity to meet together and enjoy the virtual experience of being away on holiday. Bradford North Methodist Circuit have had their own annual Holiday at Home scheme for some years and at the instigation of Rev. Iris Musgrove we started our own in July 2013.
A programme of events was worked out to cover three days of virtual holiday, with three separate virtual destinations. These were: the seaside, the dales, and a spa day. Entertainers were arranged for each of the themed days together with craft and other activities. On each of the days the guests, some of whom were provided with transport to get to the venue (Aldersgate) were greeted in cafe style with tea and biscuits and the opportunity to relax with the morning papers. After morning tea the guests boarded the virtual bus and on that first day were transported to their destination, Blackpool. Lunch was provided after which further entertainment took the guest though to afternoon tea and cakes.
On this first years scheme we had around fifteen guests who fully entered into the atmosphere of the virtual nature of Holiday at Home, although one or two were expecting a real trip away. In the second year of Holiday at Home we took to the high seas and the destinations were Italy, France, and a round Britain cruise. Similar numbers if not more guests attended and enjoyed the scheme on this second year. We have now held our 5th Holiday at Home and numbers continue to increase year by year, proving how popular an event this is.
In these days of austerity and gloomy news, Holiday at Home has been a wonderful antidote to the cares of the world. The guests, some of whom might be in danger of social isolation, had the opportunity to get together with old friends and to make new ones. They were able enjoy three days of fun, laughter and singing. The most wonderful sound was made as our older brothers and sisters chatted away to each other and enjoyed being out and doing something. Those of us who were involved in the planning and execution of these events were privileged to take part and serve.
The benefits of being involved both as guests and helpers, have been many and varied, not least of which has been the coming together of God’s people in fellowship and fun.