A look back at 2013Summary
The 2013 Convention was the most ambitious to date with over 30 individual events fitted in between the opening night on Friday 23rd August and the closing meeting on Saturday 31st.
We continued this year with our reception for former missionaries on the Friday evening and this again ensured a very healthy attendance at the prayer meeting which followed. The importance attached to prayer by the Convention was illustrated by the strong attendances throughout the week at the morning prayer times which were led by a variety of our speakers.
The local Mission Secretaries workshop on Saturday morning was addressed this year by Myles Wilson and his talk on aspects of missionary finance was very much appreciated by the many present.
At the evening meeting, Ramaz and Rebecca Atallah brought us first hand reports of the current turmoil in Egypt and the Middle East featured again on Monday evening when we focussed on Israel and Palestine. It was helpful to get the perspectives of Christians from the Jewish and Arab communities. That afternoon, the seminar on the future of the church in the region drew nearly 300 people and there was good engagement during the open time of questions and answers. The total attendance of over 1000 throughout the day shows the continuing fascination which this part of the world holds for local Christians.
The focus moved each evening to a new location and so on Sunday we heard of the spiritual decline in Scotland when David Robertson spoke and shared lessons for the church in N. Ireland. On Tuesday Jonathan Morton spoke on the global strategy of CMS with a focus on S.America and Mark Collier talked of his well drilling work in W. Africa. He brought along his new rig as a very impressive visual aid ! China was centre stage on Wednesday when we learned of the hardships of being a pastor there and also of the work being done to get more Bibles into the hands of Christians. We were back in Europe on Thursday with a close look at youth work in Spain and church growth in France through the eyes of Laura Sanlon and Peter Calvert. On Friday Graham Daniels spoke powerfully on the global reach of sport and how Christians can use this for the spread of the gospel. At the closing meeting on Saturday we heard from the Turners about their work in Peru and finally Bishop Ken Clarke brought a very challenging message to all present using references to work going on in other parts of S. America.
Bishop Ken also led the Bible Readings each morning on the theme of Body Beautiful and the very practical advice given on how Christians can help to build churches which display the beauty of Christ was an inspiration to the many who were able to get along.
Our new initiatives for 2013 were well received. The attendances at both the Students event and the special Youth night on Thursday evening ( held in parallel with the main meeting ) exceeded our expectations and we will look at repeating these in future years. Taking these together with our Children’s meeting on Saturday morning meant that were were providing something for all ages from 9 to 90 ( and more ) for the first time and we see this as important in bring on the next generation of missions supporters.
The afternoon meetings for Ladies and those with learning disabilities, run by Prospects, were well attended again this year.
Our range of Chairmen, Gary Beattie, Glen Mitchell, Graeme Kennedy brought there own individual stamp to the meetings and the variety of worship leaders meant that most tastes were catered for.
The Global Village was full to capacity again this year with over 80 exhibitors and reports from mission secretaries suggest that worthwhile contacts were made.
All in all a very busy Convention and we are grateful to God for His blessing on all that took place. In confidence we look to him to bring forth the fruit in due season.