Great outdoors helps young people connect with God


A weekend of night walks on the beach, survival techniques and worship around the campfire helped a group of young people from across a city switch off, connect with friends and learn more about God

Around 50 young people from the Portsmouth area took part in the residential event organised by ‘High Tide’ — a network of church youth groups which runs a monthly worship gathering in the area.  

As the young people arrived on Friday evening, they got to know each other with games before the first church teaching session that night. Throughout the weekend, lively worship and teaching were interspersed with activities from paintballing and swimming to survival techniques, like how to make a fire. 

The teaching was focused on topics such as how social media can encourage people to be ‘seen and liked’, whereas God says we are ‘known and loved’. There was also opportunity to listen to stories of personal faith and respond in prayer and discussion groups.   

In the evenings, singing around the campfire under the stars was followed by a night walk along the beach.  

Chloe Smith, 18, who attended said: “I really liked the night walk, as we would walk with young people from other churches and see the sights."  

Spending this sort of weekend away with other teenagers from church was “really refreshing” Chloe explained. “You can enjoy the worship and discuss things seriously.” 


Josh Murphy, 16, said: “It was good to meet young people from other churches – and this gave us a chance to spend more time with each other. 

“I enjoyed all of it – the teamwork in the paintball, the swimming, the football, and the prayer sessions and the worship.” 

With a strong focus on discipleship, the young people were also encouraged during the weekend to think about how to ‘move forward’ spiritually when they would return home. 

Dom DeBoo, Children, Youth and Families Minister at St Jude's Church, Southsea, said: “It was a brilliant weekend, most of the young people have taken significant steps forward in their faith journey – with some encountering Jesus for the first time.” 

More information

This was the first residential weekend away organised by the ecumenical ‘High Tide’ network of church youth groups. (They normally meet once a month for an evening youth service for those aged from 11 to 18). 

The monthly youth services take place at different venues across the Portsmouth area, with upcoming events scheduled for 10 June and 15 July 2022.  

The Church of England's Vision and Strategy for the 2020s is helping us to be a Church which proclaims and lives out the Good News of Jesus Christ afresh in every generation.