The retreat at Vence was organised by ICC, the International Christian Communities of Eurasia. This is a network of workers and churches who ail to reach internationals in the cities of Europe and Asia. There is a European Board, and two churches at Saint Paul de Vence and at Nice collaborated with a team of workers from Denton Bible Church in Texas, plus a few other folk from hither and yon, to make the week work well.
The stated goal was to remove our socks from our feet by the express force of the benedictions imparted.
This goal was to be achieved by various means :
1) and it was the first thing we noticed - everyone was really nice and kind to each other
2) teaching sessions of a very high standard taking us through chapters 1 - 3 of Revelation, given by a pastor from Istanbul who is currently working on his doctorate from TEDS
3) comfortable accommodation and good food. We had a flat in Vence with views as seen below. It was basic holiday accommodation, but compares very favourably with some conference accommodation I have known (e.g. nuclear bunkers with 42-person bunks)
4) "little things" like a welcome pack containing a jar of jam, some apples, some chocolate bars and a box of Thorntons chocolate. This latter was due to a grave misunderstanding. We had to fill in a questionnaire which asked what our favourite "candy bar" is. One of our number has fond memories of buying the occasional Thorntons Continental bar - it was small but of good quality. It seems that Thorntons bars are not known outside the UK. Oh well. It's an ill wind that blows no good!
5) Times of worship led by various members of the Vence and Nice churches.
6) Excursions. We took one excursion to the island of Saint Honorat.
The weather was gorgeous, the folk were kindness personified, the food was excellent, the teaching was wise and judicious, all in all it was a very good week.
I wore two pairs of socks all week, just in case, but let it be known that I am typing this barefoot.