‘It was an amazing day when we saw God in the faces of children and the warmth of those I was with’ Tani
Tek Ura’s ‘We love Kafja e Rremes’ camp - was our third whole community gathering in the beautiful surrounds of ‘Eden Park’ on the edge of Tirana. For the vast majority of 140 people attending the concept of ‘holiday’, ‘break’, ‘retreat’ or time out from chaotic lives is totally alien. Many live in poor housing and social conditions where they concentrate on getting through the day.
At Tek Ura, we’ve been intentionally seeking to build community cohesion. Breaking down deep discrimination - especially towards the Romani and Egyptian communities. Our camp promotes the dignity, respect and wholeness of life in Christian community. A community rooted in Jesus where all are celebrated and loved.
Pastor Dan explains ‘Clearly, community and friendship takes time and needs to be strengthened by conversation. Whilst we don’t use the word ‘retreat’ - we facilitate some important time away from normal activities to offer people space and time to get reacquainted with God, to examine the priorities of life and to make concrete and practical resolutions for improvement. Overall, it has been an extremely positive and popular community event – and significant in creating a community story – fostering a strong bond between Tek Ura and the host community of Kafja e Rremes, as we gather around our values.’
This year our theme was ’Sensing God’s mission in Kafja e Rremes’, the big idea being that ‘no matter how hard things are for us there is always an opportunity to affect people around us in a positive way. We are made and called to show the love of God.’We experienced different activities using all of our senses to think about God’s transforming love.
Highlights of our time included 100+people doing a giant zumba session, creating and performing a unique worship song, and making a piece of tactile community art out of rocks to express our love for our neighbourhood.
We used various kinds of prayer activities, including a labyrinth, and materials to provoke our senses. We considered how we might be the kind of community that offers a sweet smelling life, where in kindness, in generosity, thinking of others… our actions impact the people around us like a sweet smell. We also used drama, music and dance to think about how we can connect with God by listening, tasting, seeing and touching life in its fullness.
Reflecting on this year’s event, Dan said ‘It’s always one of of highlights. Three years ago, some of the people who attended wouldn’t shared the same room, now they’re celebrating life together. That’s not to say that all their difficulties have been solved - in fact, their lives can sometimes feel like constant noise—voices from every side—influencing the way they think and feel. But, in the midst of it all, they are increasing believing in the one voice we need to hear the most—the voice of God.’