So, here I am, back home after the Ministers' Conference which was good fun on the whole, and also a privilege to be part of organising.
I enjoyed listening to two very different speakers, each of whom made me think about different things in very different ways and to different extents. It was pleasure and privilege to take responsibility for the quiet room, which proved to be a haven for people who needed to hide away at various times; some left behind art work which expressed profound emotions and struggles, and the depth and breadth of theological understandings and spiritual yearnings which for them, made parts of the conference difficult or uncomfortable. I am glad they felt safe enough to express and then to leave behind these items. My task is not to agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed but to offer the creators needs to the Creator of us all.
We shared in some profound acts of worship, we shared some struggles and tensions of ministry, we laughed with each other and at some of the ridiculous aspects of church life. There were 'moments' of course, because we are human and finite, we did not all agree on everything (as Baptists don't) but I do believe that for all our diversity, and all our struggles with come issues and some people, we all care about each other and long to serve Christ where we are located. And for that I'm truly grateful.
A few things that made me smile...
- Someone mistaking my glass of apple & blueberry J2O for half a pint of red wine and being rather shocked (... as if; it'd have to be a pint (not))
- Someone commenting on the use of scripture to close down arguments and then alluding to comments on specks and logs with the words "I seem to recall Jesus saying something about that" (... albeit with a slight twinkle in his eye at the time)
- The very concept of mouth to mouth resuscitation on a frog!
There were a few deeply privileged moments too, moments when the nature of ministry is clearer and I am reminded that this is not what I do, it is who I am.