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New Wine 2017: Elephants Explored

In June 1960, the seeds of the New Wine movement began as David and Mary Pytches responded to God’s call to Chile. During time in South America over seventeen years, they experienced earthquakes, a military coup and illness. All of this caused Mary to call on God for the power of his Holy Spirit and she was filled in a way she had not experienced before. As David and Mary began to walk out the Spirit-filled life, they saw manifestations of God’s presence in signs and wonders and began to pray that a similar outpouring would occur in the UK. Returning home in 1977, their church, St Andrews, Chorleywood, invited John Wimber to visit and the Spirit began to manifest God’s presence in ways similar to those witnessed in Chile. News of God’s immanence at St Andrews spread and the church decided to start meeting together as families to holiday; to praise and to worship; and to seek God’s direction.

Uniting Thousands to Worship One

In 1989, families first camped together at a showground in Somerset which has become an annual venue ever since for the thousands who gather today. New Wine also convenes conferences and leaders’ teaching retreats and various ministry training days throughout the year, as well as connecting church leaders for further equipping.

This year’s New Wine Summer Gathering was called ‘Uniting Thousands to Worship One.’ Committing itself to inspiring Bible teaching; seminars; passionate worship; fun for all the family and ministry in the Holy Spirit, it met across two weeks from the 23rd July to the 6th August, 2017. My family and I joined New Wine for Week One.

The conference is attended by Christians from all walks of life and from all over the UK. A large contingent worship in Church of England churches. Bishop David Pytches, its founder, was present this year. Bishop Philip North, one of our relatively new Bishops and from a different tradition within the Church of England, addressed the conference and described the event afterwards as one where ‘there is a powerful sense of the immanence of God … the festival has a powerful energy focused on a passionate belief in the local church as the hope of the world, and a real sense that we can go back home to make a difference.'[1]

Seminars at New Wine were not shy about exploring the culture the church now finds itself in.

Since I last reviewed New Wine for, the movement has experienced a change of leadership. Paul and Becky Harcourt are encouraging a new movement of God into the ordinary. Theirs is an emphasis on the fifty weeks rather than the two spent together in worship. Paul’s opening challenge to us was to take New Wine home. I detect, too, a gentler exploration of God’s manifest presence. During ministry time, the expectant crowds are led more carefully into the presence of God. There is more humility and perhaps more nurturing for those unsure about this stepping into the supernatural. New Wine is a caring midwife for our being born again.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2017

About the Author: Rachel Marszalek is Vicar of All Saints, Ealing, an Anglican Church in London. Revd Marszalek is involved in the New Wine Movement and particularly focussed on women in Anglican ordained ministries within the network. She is married with two girls and two puppy dogs who are all a joy to her. God first called her to the church during the prayer of Humble Access in an Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer service when she was 8 years old. She blogs at Revising Reform. Facebook. Twitter: @revisingreform

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