Monday, 16 May 2016

Reflections on the Baptist Assembly 2016, Oxford

My wife was the main delegate for our church. It was her first time at a Baptist Assembly, though she has attended the Essex and now the Eastern Baptist Association events.

The arrangements and Assembly registration seemed to be well planned. The car parking at the Park and Ride and the special buses to the King's Centre went very smoothly. Oxford is a beautiful city, the City of Dreaming Spires, but we drove through the ugly industrial estate to our venue, which was once a factory complex. It is modern, clean and well cared for. The facilities are good, though the air conditioning (needed at this time of year) was unsatisfactory. The meeting hall/open assembly (Cotswold Hall) area was stuffy and unpleasant. It was a joy to get into the air conditioned conference centre, where the musicians greeted us with loud songs. The saxophonist, flute and piccolo player in the music group was very talented. He was playing the soprano sax skilfully.  Very impressive indeed. He played the tenor sax later, and it was great. The balance between the keyboard and the singers did not seem right from where we were sitting and sometimes the sound system did not perform too well. The same could be said about the right overhead screen. I wondered whether or not this venue was big enough to accommodate everyone. There were clearly not enough seats for the final session. The air conditioning seemed to be turned off for the afternoon sessions and people with breathing difficulties struggled. Fortunately fresh air was near, by the bike parking area and small yard.

The delegate packs were put together with care and considerable thought. The project leader and team should be congratulated on what they achieved and the successful running of the programmes. Well done!

The guest/keynote speaker was the Reverend Didi Oprenova, Minister of Sofia Baptist Church, Bulgaria, and Vice-President of the World Baptist Alliance. It is always challenging and encouraging to hear about Christians and ministries in times when and places where persecution and political pressures have been experienced and overcome. Inspiring One Another was the theme, as Baptists Together exists to grow healthy churches in relationship for God's mission. Yes, we are on a mission from and for God.

Reverend Rupert Lazar was welcomed as the new President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. He has presence and seems to have a winsome personality that will help him in his year of office. May the Lord continue to equip, empower and encourage him in all his efforts, endeavours and enterprises.

Baptists should be genuinely pleased, some would say proud, of their missionary history and culture.
The Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) strategy for 2016-2020 looks positive and well planned. The future is uncertain, they do things differently there, but one can sense tremendous hope and commitment so that there will be significant achievements, success and sharing the Gospel of salvation, full salvation, in Christ Jesus, D.V.

Usually I include photographs of my visits to the Baptist Assemblies, but this year I kept to the no photography policy. I sympathize with those who voted against this policy with their fingers on cameras, smart phones and other devices, to record digitally those who were commissioned and fully accredited.


Johli Baptist said...

I have not commented on the session concerning the migration crisis and the visit to "the Calais Jungle".

I intend to write a substantive post on this subject, drawing on my experience of working with
probation, justice officials, police and immigration officers.

Johli Baptist said...

It was good to meet old friends and fellow travellers. I rejoice in what is doing in their lives. Missionary work has been critized by political thinkers and sociologists, but I can see the positive outcomes: conversions, care for the poor, the needy, orphans, widows, education, better living conditions... one could go on and on. BMS means, to me, brilliant missionary society, benefiting more souls, being more success (in terms of the Kingdom of God).

Johli Baptist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johli Baptist said...

I have not learned how to correct comments. BMS= being more successful, or bringing more success, not worldly success, but success in terms of God's Kingdom.

When the role is called up yonder we shall see the true success

of the work and the witness of our friends in BMS.


River Stour