I've now been in Baptist ministry for 15 years, and since the conference was around 10 years ago, this was my second such event. Five years ago, things seemed a bit dry and formal. This time, the Holy Spirit seemed to get more of a look in. Either I've changed, or the conference has, or more likely both!
So, what happened? Here's the brief summary:
- Jeannie Kendall, one of the ministers at Carshalton Beeches Free Church (where, by coincidence, my Grandad ministered for around 29 years, and my mum grew up), shared movingly from her experience of pastoral ministry.
- Paul Goodliff gave two masterful bible studies using paintings from Piero della Francesca and Caravaggio. I am a complete Philistine when it comes to art, but was entranced by the explanations and meanings of the pictures.
- David Coffey gave a fascinating account of 'Listening to the Voices of the World Church'.
- Jonathan Edwards preached as passionately as ever during our closing communion service.
- And yes, the class of '93-96 (ie my year at college) managed to find time to share and pray together.
Baptist ministers among my readers will know the names above. To the rest, I point out that it was not the retired triple-jumper preaching at our communion service (now that would have been a turn-up for the books!).