Just back, as are others, from the BUGB assembly in Plymouth.So many have agreed it was the best one for years. Which of course will give a problem for those who planned it ... what did we do differently that worked so well this time and how do we keep it good for Blackpool.
Unusually I was only an infrequent visitor to Prism, (which has been my venue of choice for a number of years now) but from what I saw and from conversations with others, it seems to have reclaimed its truly alternative status, being something distinct in itself again, not just the 'mini-me with a pint' it was threatening to become. So well done to all the others who worked so hard there. I will pledge my renewed patronage now.
However the Main stage events engaged me much more than over the last few years. I have not listened to the recordings of Friday night yet (so I will hold judgment on Amy's talk) but the celebration of difference in the style of speakers was most welcome. For me Anne Wilkinson Hayes had the most depth and resonated most distinctly but I found myself being spoken to by God through others on many occasions. So too did I appreciate the diversity of worship. The musicians showed themselves more than capable of a number of styles but for me a lot of this must go down to the great work of Chris Ellis, hardly on the stage at all but influencing so much with his care for overall development of the worship. I enjoy the Spring Harvest celebration stuff when it is balanced with world church, Taize, (thanks to Tony Ruth and Helen) as well as traditional hymns etc. Very well blended stuff.
So perhaps for the first time in a number of years I have come away not so much thinking that it was a good chance to catch up with friends ... but a good time to catch up with God.
Oh and an appreciative PS ... thanks for so many voting for the Public Resolutions ... whatever happens on Thursday i think there will be a chance for us to have a go at Trident next year.
Oh and a final PPS ... I really hope the final words from David Kerrigan on Monday were not throw away rhetoric but a first glimpse of genuine engagement with people too long unwelcome in our churches.