|How Harvesters Began
Around this same time a small group of us - committed Christian men, seven of whom are Catholic and one from a non-denominational church sympathetic to the Catholic faith - met together periodically for a pub lunch. The group ranged from an adviser in ethical investments and an executive from Microsoft to a retired parish priest and leaders in lay communities. During our times together the group had over the years organised a number of weekends to help train and encourage those in positions of leadership in lay Catholic and ecumenical communities throughout the British Isles. However, several years later and a handful of weekends down the line, we recognised that deeper relationships had in fact now begun to develop among these communities. It was time, we felt, to switch our focus elsewhere.
Above all, these groups provide a refuge where men are free to be known, not by virtue of their wealth but by the wealth of their virtues. These are not gatherings where masculine pride is upheld and celebrated, but where humility, responsibility and servant-leadership are discussed, learnt and esteemed. The power and development of this ministry undoubtedly lies in the regular meeting of these regional sharing groups.
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• 1998 - First national weekend for men at Woldingham Park, Surrey
• 2000 - North and South both host Weekends with Stonyhurst College,Lancs as venue for the North
• 2000 - Harvesters sends team of three to minister to men in Kenya and Uganda
• 2002 - Tanzania hosts its first conferences for men supported by Harvesters
• 2004 - Local bishops of Salford and Arundel & Brighton attend Harvesters' weekends away for men. Specialised seminars introduced to main weekends away
• 2005 - A record number of newcomers book in to experience the weekends away for men
• 2006 - The northern weekend moves to the more central location of Mount St Mary's College near Sheffield
• 2007 - Scotland hosts its first Weekend For Men at Scotus College in Glasgow, home of the Scottish Catholic Bishops' Conference
• 2007 - Harvesters send out a team to visit East Africa twice a year as requests for ministry increase
• 2008 - The North hostsHarvesters' first 'one-night only' weekend at Lancaster University