How ‘life in all its fullness’ was shared at wellbeing weekend

Jo Lorimer, Pioneer Ordinand in the parish of Warblington with Emsworth, in Hampshire, hosted a successful Wellbeing Weekend, making the most of the coastal landscape nearby. Here she recounts the experience and the benefits she observed for wellbeing and mission.

Why we offered a wellbeing weekend

We recognised that the pandemic had been a difficult time for many, so wanted to create a space for young and old to reflect on their wellbeing, with an invitation to try something new or make just one simple change to help them experience more of ‘life in all its fullness’.

How we structured the weekend


Before breakfast: We began at 7.30am on Hayling Island beach, introduced the theme of wellbeing and gave people the option of swimming*, paddling, walking or sitting on the beach. Some suggestions of things to reflect on as they engaged in an activity were offered.

Breakfast and hot drinks

Late morning: we simply enjoyed the beach and one another’s company, with no fixed agenda or content.

Pack up and end morning session: This meant that people could go home with space to reflect and eat lunch. They could come back for the afternoon session, or just attend the morning or afternoon sessions. We wanted to make it possible for people to attend if a full day was too long a commitment.

Afternoon warm up: We gathered in the church grounds, still enjoying the outdoors!

Everyone was invited to find their ‘inner child’ and join in with tennis, bowls, parachute games and other sports.

Afternoon reflection: we spent some time thinking about what ‘wellbeing’ was and reflecting on what a balanced life might look like for each one of us. We thought about what ‘rocks’ we each needed to put in place first, what do we need to say ‘yes’ to and what do we need to say ‘no’ to. We signposted and shared details of the The Wellbeing Journey as an opportunity for further exploration on these topics.

Afternoon tea: We couldn’t miss having more food during a wellbeing weekend, so we paused for tea and cake.

Ending the day: We used ‘stretch bands’ to help us gain spiritual insight - as we stretched the bands, we considered the things that are stretching us, strengthening us, things that are causing some resistance in us and experiences that are expanding us.


Sunday morning: the Sunday Family service was themed around ‘wellbeing’ using ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ Acts 17:28 as a focus.

The benefits we observed during the weekend

  • We learnt a lot from the wellbeing weekend and if nothing else, it raised the important issue of thinking about our wellbeing and showed that physical activity can be a way of helping us connect with one another, ourselves and God’s peace through creation.
  • The majority of the group braved the sea, conversations were had whilst swimming and dipping, and a couple of people remarked how much they enjoyed being in the water and that it had encouraged them to come back again to swim.
  • Another person said they had joined the event because it was outside, and this in turn had given them courage to come back to church after a pause during the pandemic.
  • God blessed it - the weather had been dry and sunny all morning, until just as we were packing up, the heaven’s opened and we rejoiced that we had been given just the right amount of time to enjoy the morning session.
  • One person in their 90’s shared that they hadn’t played tennis since they were 11 and were surprised at how well they could hit the ball.

If you’d like to plan a Wellbeing Weekend in your parish, see Jo’s ten tips to help make it successful and safe.