POSTED 26 September 2017 BY Verity IN Summer, Ski, Ministry, Richmond Staff
Telling people that I work for Richmond Holidays, a Christian holiday company makes for an interesting conversation starter! Pretty much every time I utter this sentence, a puzzled look crosses the face of the person I’m talking to, as they try to decide in their mind what exactly a Christian holiday would look like!
So, what do you think of when you hear the words ‘Christian holiday’? Here are a few of the classic thoughts and responses I’ve heard over the last five years since I started working for Richmond - it’s time to put these myths to bed!
Firstly, even if you are a Christian, it does not necessarily mean that you will have heard of a Christian holiday company like Richmond, or that you can picture the format of the holidays. Many Christians assume that a Christian Holiday would be similar to a Christian festival, such as New Wine or Spring Harvest, with the main difference being that it’s abroad. Yet a Christian festival differs to a Christian holiday in a number of ways. Festivals are generally aimed at thousands of delegates and offer a jam-packed programme of set ministry, large services and many seminars running in between. At Richmond, the holidays are run by a Christian staff team, which includes a ministry leader who runs times of prayer, worship and Bible-led teaching throughout the week. But in addition, there are a variety of activities on offer, from skiing or relaxing in the hot tub with a glass of wine in the winter to learning to sail or trying out some mountain biking routes in the summer.
Secondly, the stereotypical image of Christians, especially if on holiday, is of a whole clan of people all in socks and sandals. I can confirm that even though our holidays are abroad and we do enjoy fantastic sunshine throughout the summer, I personally have never seen anybody going for the ‘socks and sandals’ combination! In fact, I think that you would be more likely to see a hipster queuing for a Triple, Venti, Soy, No Foam Latte in Shoreditch wearing socks and sandals than a Richmond guest! But hey, if people did want to rock the sock and sandal look on holiday, then sure, why not?!
As we have already gone onto a bit of a tangent about strong stereotypes, here is another funny Christian typecast that often springs to people’s mind - sitting in a circle singing Kumbaya. I’m not too sure of the origin of this? Maybe, because Kumbaya is one of those songs that everybody sang at Primary school along with “All things bright and beautiful”? But I can assure everyone that Kumbaya is not (currently!) on the list of our worship songs and hymns. At Richmond, we do love a good time of worship, and one of our highlights during the summer is when we head down to the beach after dinner with a guitar and enjoy a fantastic time singing together under the beautiful stars, accompanied by the waves gently lapping on the shore.
Who exactly goes on a Christian holiday… Is the holiday full of families? Young people? Old people? Church groups? Singles? Church of England? Baptist? Yes, yes, and yes – Our holidays attract people from all of the groups mentioned above and many more beside. Each week has its own unique mix of people and it’s that which makes out holidays special. Being a Christian holiday company, our guests generally are part of the Christian community, but we see many different denominations join us, as well as non-Christian family members and friends.
Sometimes people think a Christian holiday is a super religious week, which involves getting up really early to pray, fasting, maintaining a reverent silence, or attending Holy Mass etc… To be honest, this is actually a fair guess as there are a number Christian holidays like this, at retreat centres or abbeys. We could recommend some great ones to you, but this is not what a Richmond Christian holiday is like! At Richmond, we try to create a perfect balance between activities, teaching and excursions with time to relax, read, pray and grow deeper with our awesome, loving God in the setting of His beautiful creation. We understand that holidays can often be used as a time to get away from the demands and stresses of everyday life, yet we believe holidays shouldn’t be a break from our Christian relationship with God.
Then, every now and then I get the response that always brings such joy to me and my marketing heart – “Oh yeah, Richmond, I’ve heard about you! A friend had an awesome holiday with you last year!”
So, now what would you say if I asked you what is a Christian holiday? Hopefully this blog has given you a better understanding of what exactly a Christian holiday with Richmond is like! It’s an opportunity to draw closer to God and an opportunity to enjoy yourself, relax and feel renewed in yourself!
Find out some more about Richmond Holidays online here: www.richmond-holidays.com and if you have been on a Richmond holiday why not share with us if you had any other ideas of what you thought a Christian holiday would look like before you travelled?