Singles seeking support
2005. Members of Christian Friendship Fellowship (NZ) are gathering at Queen Charlotte Sound this Easter from all over New Zealand for one of the fellowship’s major get-togethers of the year, the “Significant Singles” camp.
Campers arrive at Kiwi Ranch at Curious Grove, which is only accessible by boat, from cities and regions including Auckland, Invercargill, Otago, Canterbury, Wellington, Nelson, and Marlborough, with one leaving Australia to be with single Kiwis because there is “nothing for single Christians in Australia”.
CFF, a not-for-profit-fellowship run by Norma and David Laing, aims to enrich the lives of other single Christians to provide opportunities to meet others for friendship, fun and fellowship as well as those who are seeking more long-term relationships.
Ages range from the 30s to the 70s, with the average being 45 years. Mrs Laing says there is “a reasonable balance of men and women”, about half divorced, separated or widowed while the others have never married.
People traveling by Cook Strait are recommended to wear something yellow, like a flower, so that they can identify and meet other campers during the trip.
“This has proved very successful when people are at petrol stations, on the interisland ferry, or wandering around Picton waiting for the camp boat to leave. The ‘wearing something yellow’ works as apprehension and shyness soon fades,” Mrs Laing says.
“The majority of people come alone with most not knowing who the other people are. There are a few regulars, about 10 who come to a number of camps, so are meeting up with ‘old friends’. Most of the time they go away feeling they have connected with others and have made genuine friends whom they will keep in touch.”
Mrs Laing says they find refreshment and genuine fellowship which they often lack in their family-focused local church.
“Campers can speak openly about the positives and negatives of the single lifestyle and make life-time supportive friendships.”
The main speaker will be “2001 Nelsonian of the year” Tony Barnett, a former Church of Christ pastor who is now community counsellor at the Annesbrook Church and Community Centre in Nelson.
Mr Barnett’s message is entitled, “Resurrection Power – Over the Performance Trap/For the Approval Addict/Over the Blame Game and Over the Shame Game.”
He says singles face fear of rejection, failure, punishment, and shame.
“The answer to these things is the resurrection power of Jesus and the truth of God’s Word. That is the direction of the weekend for me.”
By Peter Veugelaers
Published 2005, Challenge Weekly