What is Ashburnham?


Someone asked me what I’ll do this summer and I said I’ll go to Ashburnham. They said ‘what’s that? What do you do there?’ And I said Ashburnham? Well...

We travel 500 miles from ‘oop north’ to the most southern place in the country

(someone explain that to me)

Two years apart makes for a beautiful reunion

Even if it was the journey from hell

Just make sure you forgive everyone before communion

On arrival day check the names of attendees

Check your mates are here and then

‘Up to your room if you please’

Tent Hill House is still standing

I share a room with my brothers, I shouldn’t complain, don’t be demanding

After a fabulous meal blessed by, an aggressive Ashburnham grace

Into the Great Hall we go and let the facade drop, honesty takes its place

Let out the tears and let out the laughter

Commiseration and celebration, then hot chocolates after

Stay up all night with deep and meaningfuls round every corner

With the Hydes and the Gees and maybe a Horner

So we stay up too late and wake up too early

Ready to be blasted in the face with Good Morning Ashburnham

Seminars galore

All you could think up

Stuff to make you feel raw

Or just a space to chat during which you can drink up

And lets talk about that -

Ashburnham’s drinking problem

Tea and coffee at every opportunity

Isn’t that awesome!

What do we do at Ashburnham?

We get a bit ferocious on the volleyball court

And frankly I sit there feeling all fraught

Watching my wonderful Dad miss the ball, miss the ball

Everyone wants him in their team cus they know he’s tall

They don’t know he’s as hopeless as someone three foot small

All the parents run the Ash Dash and a couple get hurt

Looking crushed as they’re beaten by a teen who’s had a growth spurt

Being anywhere near the Rileys you’re aware of how slow you are

I probably couldn’t beat them even in a car

So I just keep on praying for those with Ash Dash injuries

I don’t need to be fast, God thinks I’m the bees’ knees

What do we do at Ashbunrham?

We paint away our cares and our sorrows and our woes

As we’re offered some more tea and cake… I think I will have one of those

We talk with strangers we’ve never met before

With great openness and vulnerability

It leaves you wanting more

After all, this is a thin place and we’re thin place people

You want the impact of Ashburnham to continue like a ripple

This place is so special and precious you see

You want to take it and share it with everyone you meet

We talk out our sorrows and sing out our praise

Processing our joys and grief all day

This is a place of ‘both, and’

No polarisation here, you can stand

On the fence or in your camp

There is room for your questions here

It’s not ‘in the club’ got the t-shirt, got the stamp

No, we all get to play

And we love the grey

And if you’ll let Him

Our gracious God, He will show you the way

To live life completely in the shadow of His wings

Not trusting in our careers or in man made things

But leaning into Him

And letting him take care of us

Living life in good community

Trusting how good and fair He is

What do we do at Ashburnham?

We talk talk talk

And walk walk walk

Around that beautiful lake

Before tucking into some more tea and cake

Volley with the best of them

(And with the worst)

And all the while connecting with God and nursing a thirst

This time not for tea or coffee but for Him

And after all our wandering we’re being gathered back in

We can come and eat and laugh and cry

If you’re arty or sport or loud or shy

Bring your bikes and your kids

Lose each 50 times a day

Watch all the little ones whiz

Past on their way down to the lake

Which, by the way, is pretty but slimey man

‘Silt?’ Apprently so, and you come out all grimey man

What do we do at Ashbunrham?

Catch up and dive deep

With people who’s names you’ve forgotten

You could play sports every minute

Or just blob and do nutin

After all, no need for clean up or cooking

Just squeeze some more conversation or perhaps book in

While the campers try to convince you life’s better down there

I don’t believe you, you look cold and tired and have grass in your hair

What do you do at Ashbunrham?

Get woken up by geese honking in the morning

But it’s worth it when you get up and see the day dawning

As the campers pretend they’re enjoying their frostbite

Which they got trying to get to the toilet in the dead of night

Broad Yorkshire accents make you feel nice and safe

As we ready ourselves for the tea and cake our new addictions are making us crave

Wilsons laugh and Hawksworths smile

Flowers lead and Kingstons show style

While a Riley outside breaks into a canter

All over the grounds there is bonding and banter

Fear Nigel at ping pong

Can’t beat Ash Bunch for a sing song

Music and merriment flows all around

The grounds

As we learn, grow, talk, shift and love all around

Trees take your breath away

Morning mist makes you praise

Starlit skies make your draw drop

While we soak in this bubble between Saturdays

What do you do at Ashburnham?

In short, we walk, we talk, we wander, we praise, mourn, laugh cry, sing, run, become free, share wine and bread unleavened...

We have a lovely cup of tea and a little slice of Heaven