The ‘Dangerous Women of Rugby’, an informal ecumenical networking group in Rugby, were given an opportunity to run a Day Conference at the Royal Court Hotel in Coventry.
We tried to get a speaker, but that didn’t work out, so we opted to run something less formal, without a speaker.
We had a brainstorming evening to decide how to theme the event, and what our aims would be. The idea we came up with was ‘Doing Christmas Differently’, with the subheading ‘What makes Christmas special for you?’, hoping that, although it was a bit early for Christmas, this would appeal to non-churchgoers as well.
We could take 30 women for free, although we could have taken more and paid extra. But in the end we had 29 ladies booked, although on the day two could not come. There were some who were not church-goers, so it was lovely to see that people felt they could bring friends. We were pleased with the numbers: it was about the right amount for the venue/space.
It went extremely well: the hotel staff were very helpful, we were surprised and delighted to get a full three-course meal (I was only expecting two courses, and some of the guests had only expected a ‘ploughmans’!). The room was lovely. We had lunch together, then various optional activities:
. A retelling of the Christmas Story by a local story-teller, using a technique called ‘Godly Play’ which invites the listeners to get really involved with the story and respond
. A craft table to make tree decorations
. A table for writing Christmas cards with free stamps and some hand-made cards for sale
. A pinboard/white board to share suggestions to make Christmas less stressful and more meaningful
. A rolling presentation on Christmas traditions.
In addition, lots of us were able to go swimming – and the Jacuzzi was very popular!
It was interesting that we didn’t need to provide a lot of activities for people: I had felt that we were a bit ‘thin on the ground’ with what we were offering, especially without a speaker, but I think it shows you only need to get friendly women together in a room with a meal and they’ll all talk very happily!
We closed with tea/coffee, and finally a quiet meditation with candles, music, poetry and readings.
There was a real buzz of conversation, a happy atmosphere, a chance to think about Christmas, and some interesting discussions. Everyone said they really enjoyed it, and when is the next one!
Dangerous Women of Rugby website: www.dwor.org.uk