The Baptist Assembly in Scotland, celebrating 150 years of the BUS is now over. It was a good to days, some real highlights, no horrendously low spots, and, amusingly a fake cake.
When we arrived the cake was proudly on show, a centrpiece that i assumed, wrongly, would be ceremonially cut at some point. It wasn't. When everyone was packing up at the ned, there it was, slightly bashed and still uncut. 'Oh, it's not real,' I was told, 'it's a polystyrene block covered in icing'. There had been real cake, gluten free so suitable for most people to enjoy (thoguh not vegans or dairy intolerant folk) though I found it overly sweet and the artificial cream cloying. I am spoiled - no-one makes a cake like our N! There could be, as someone said to me, a sermon in that, but thaty's never been the way my mind works.
Thankfully the fake cake and the cloying artificial cream did not any any way symbolise the two days, which, for the most part were really enjoyable.
On Friday, a panel of very senior leaders from BMS World Mission, EBF, BUGB and BUW answered honestly and opening questions about sprituality, disicpleship and self-care. It was truly wonderful, as they spoke in ways that resonated with real people.
On Saturday, someone had created the most beautiful 24/7 style interactive prayer space. I loved it and spent almost an hour enjoying and praying in ways that suit me.
Also on Saturday were some excellent short talks by folk from the Scottish Bible Society, Scottish Baptist College and Strathclyde University. Really interesting and relevant, wide ranging to cover topics such as mental health, singleness, cosmology mission and reading the Bible!
There are always very precious moments - the welcoming of newly accredited ministers always takes me bck to my two 'handshakes' in BUGB and BUS, and rmeinds me who and what I am in this crazy Baptist context.
Lastly, on Saturday evening, Lynne Green, General Secretary of BUGB invited BUS women ministers to dinner. As we sat mucnhing pizza in a restaurant in Motherwell, stories were shared, ideas were sparked and connections made.
It was a good Assembly. I am glad I went. I am proud of my delegates who engaged even with the stuff that really isn't 'them'. I feel encouraged and content.