Today has been a day of unpacking, sorting, putting away etc following a fantastic week at this year's New Wine Conference - which marked for us a decade of attending this annual event.
I spent the week working as part of the medical team - one of the 1000+ volunteers who work on various teams to make the event happen. Overall attendance at the event was probably somewhere over 12,000 people!
I had worked as a first aider on the medical team 2 years ago and it was great to catch up with some familiar faces and meet some new people this year. The team is mix of first aiders, nurses, paramedics, doctors who come together to pool their experience and provide medical cover for the event.
The New Wine CSW event is held at the Royal Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallet and it is a sobering thought that the number of people attending probably comfortably exceeds the local population. Clearly, were the delegates to try and access the existing healthcare provision in the area it would be swamped so the aim of the medical team is to provide a wide range of care while people are at the event. This results in a medical centre on site that is a cross between First Aid room, GP Surgery and A&E Department which makes for a very interesting mix.
As a First Aider I clearly lack the depth of medical skill and knowledge of the professionals on the team but none the less it was an intensely satisfying experience and an opportunity to use some of the limited skills I do have and gain some new ones. It's also true that medical skills aren't always what's needed. For example, being by the main door and welcoming people into the medical centre, finding out why they've come, capturing the right information and arranging for them to be triaged by one of the nurses.
At last year's New Wine I decided to set myself the target of reading through all 66 books of the Bible over the next year. I found a reading plan that nicely themed each day of the week and set about following that - I'm delighted to report that I finished the task on the first day of this year's New Wine :-)
I think this was the first New Wine where I've seen a Twitter hashtag advertised - #NWCSW11. Setting up a quick search on Twitter enabled me to see a range of posts from people at the event which was great. Also led me to a blog which has a good mix of entries that capture some of the essence of the event.
As ever it was a great, enjoyable, spirit filled and uplifting week - hard to imagine that we won't be back next year.