Activate Weekend Away

Michelle Guiness

March 4th – 6th 2011,Four Pillars Hotel, Cirencester

What a fabulous weekend we had!
The sun shone throughout to highlight the beauty of the surrounding lakes and the stunning building. There was a definite ‘Wow’ factor from the arriving guests as the friendly staff settled everyone in.
Friday night was a relaxed low-key supper for those who had made the early arrival. Saturday morning started with the chocolate fountain and danish pastries, and that was after the full buffet breakfast. In fact, good rich food seemed to follow us throughout the weekend. One new supporter asked if our name was not, in fact, ‘ActivEat’!

Michele Guinness was everything we had hoped for – and more! Full of energy and vitality with a faith that blazes out and inspires.

She opened the weekend with an inspirational ‘Woman – the Full Story’ talk.

The seminars began with Caroline introducing the concept of friendship evangelism and community involvement with her ‘Unlocking the Door’ seminar. Liz gave an honest and moving seminar on ‘Journey through life’s challenges’.

In the afternoon Alison gave four lavish ‘Weapons of Attack’ that encouraged people to share their faith with confidence, whilst Mandy ran through the nuts and bolts of running events, including surviving disasters.
The afternoon finished with Michele leading us through the concept of family and home celebration, with time to worship together led by the fantastic Maidstone band.
It was off to the spa after that, to try out the hydropool, pressured jets, experience shower, steam room, sauna and ice blast. Many managed to fit in a walk round the lakes before dinner. Abby Guiness arrived afterwards with her fabulous Word of the Wives one woman show. How could one woman look and sound so different with just a few rotating props? One minute she had us laughing with her Welsh shepherdess, the next weeping as she became Pilate’s thoughful wife. Mrs Noah, Mrs Zaccheus – we were treated to introductions of many different and fascinating women from the Bible.
Late at night, around 20 women braved the hotel corridoors and lobbies in their pyjamaas to watch the film, ‘The Blind Side’ together. Much giggling, photo taking and eating of popcorn followed before we crept back to our rooms at One in the morning!

Early on Sunday, Caroline led us in some precious moments as we looked at our lives through the perspective of our handbags.
The function room was then transformed into a creative colourful ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning’ zone. Some kicked back and read the papers, some were busy making felt books and badges with Sian, whilst others made delicate Achkiy style jewellry with Julia Castle. There was a knitting corner with Sheila and a table of interesting books to inspire book groups with Helen. Alison gave some colour and style advice while Fiona helped others to create cards. At the back of the room was a beautiful reflective area with four tables that invited people to stop and take time with God and his word- whether through jigsaw peices or a cream tea.
The creativity became a celebration with Jan reading a monologue and introducing Michelle’s theme. Party poppers, balloons and a conga helped us to experience worship as it is so often in the Bible – a party!
The last two seminars were Jeanette’s thoughtfull insights into combatting the pressures of parenting and Sarah and Fiona’s ‘Seasons of Evangelism’. Sheila then led us into her journey of seeing how God can use our ordinary everyday lives and many were moved to hear of her security blanked encounter with Jesus.

Thank you –
-to those who were brave enough to come and try a new location and venue, it was great having you with us.
-to all those who prepared and led seminars and talks so well
-to the worship band, who adapted to a shifting programme and played so beautifully
-to Michele and Abby, for being so professional and full of fun
-to the team, who genuinely enjoyed working together and seeing so many happy inspired guests
If you would like to hear more of Michele, her website is
You could book Abby to come to your area through

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