Norway: Family Workshop

By Heidi Toresen, FFWPU Noeway

Our workshop this time, on September 29 – 30, 2018, was created as a means for us to come closer to each other brothers & sisters, not just as 1st, 2nd & 3rd gen, but rather to put those labels aside and just to connect as a community. We realized that if we want to work together as a family we should get to know each other. Ideally, this workshop should have taken place years and years ago, so we, as the directors, felt like we needed to create this kind of workshop.

The workshop was held by a lake deep in the forest by the Swedish border in an old schoolhouse which was used as a “safe house” for members of the Norwegian Resistance movement who were trying to escape to Sweden during the Second World War.

There was an outside toilet and no running water, so we had to bring all our water with us.

As this event was focused on getting to know each other more and simply bonding with some of the people you have spent many years with, it seemed attractive to both 2nd & 3rd gen who do not come to church, as well as those who do.

As we had to cover a huge age range, from around two to almost seventy, we had to make quite a diverse schedule with activities focused on both children and adults. This worked particularly well as there were three generations of several families gathered, so there was a lot of support given in the different activities.

We hope to make these kinds of workshops a regular event, whether it’s a bonding workshop, boy’s/girl’s workshop, a tribal messiah workshop, or anything else. As the last time we had such a workshop was a few years back we thought it was good to kick- start such activities again and create traditions of gathering as a community more often as well as to create a closer bond to each other now rather than later. We thought it was important that one has people in the church that you can go to, where you are free to talk about anything, whether that’s regarding the church, your family, personal life or whatever. As we are supposed to be a family it only seems natural that one should have that kind of bond between siblings, where you can open up, ask for advice or simply just give or receive the love we all deeply need. Since this seems, to a certain degree, to be missing in our community, we saw the need for such a workshop.

Our main activities in this workshop were orientation out in the forest, singing, grilling around the bonfire, pair sharing, being creative in the forest & “building our community” and an interactive Sunday service.

In this workshop we got 49 people to come – 22 children and 27 adults – mainly 2nd gen couples with young children. This workshop attendance was the 4th highest we’ve had in our church so far this year, so it seems like it was an attractive event.

Our theme during this w/s was “One family under God – the children of tomorrow”.

This w/s seemed to be a great success, as we got closer to each other through “one-on-one” talks, song sessions & simply by spending some more time with each other, which is not usually done outside of the Sunday service.

Lastly, there were quite a few people hoping that there would be more such activities, and many gave their appreciation to us for our initiative.

It was an honor to be able to create such an event & I hope for the success of many more workshops and activities in the future.

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