David and I were joined by Rev Michaela Youngson and Mrs Nwabuese Nwokolo as representatives of the British Conference to the
David joined the ministerial session of the Conference on Thursday and the representative session started on Thursday evening with the election and installation of the new President of the Conference, Rev Paul Kingston. Ms Gillian Kingston (no relation to the President) also became the first Lay Leader of the Conference, an office that replaces that of the Vice-President and which she will hold for 3 years, although the President is elected for just for a year.
On Friday the business sessions began and David brought greetings from the British Conference. Business focused on the Church’s mission in the world, with young people and financial issues. The main item of the day was a ground breaking proposal that would allow interchangeability of ministry between the
On Saturday I was invited to lead the opening devotions. Throughout the day the impact of the economic crisis both north and south of the border provided the background for a number of items of business. Churches were encouraged to support those helping the rising number of people coping with debt and we heard how cuts in educational budgets in the
We shared lunch with the President, Lay Leader and her husband, Revd Donald Ker, Ex President and current Secretary of Conference, those who attended the British Conference in
A number of memorials (equivalent to our notices of motion) were discussed including one which condemned the recent shooting of Bobby Moffett on
The Conference elected Revd Ian Henderson, assistant secretary of the Conference, to be President next year.
On Sunday I was invited to preach in the morning service at
David, Liz and Nwabueze attended the Conference Service at Sydenham, while Michaela preached at
The agenda on Sunday afternoon began by receiving four new ministers in to Full Connexion. There was also a special service of commissioning of a further five first year probationers as they were sent out by the Conference. In addition moving tributes were paid to two ministers who were given permission to retire.
Each year at the Conference a different area of the work of the Church normally in en-bloc business is given more prominence, and this year we heard of the impressive work taking place at the nearby East Belfast Mission.
At the end of the afternoon time was given to have a conversation on the work of God, with members sharing stories from around the Connexion.
The Conference closed with an evening ordination service at Bloomfield Presbyterian Church. David preached on a text from Paul’s letter to the Romans, encouraging each one of us to use the different gifts given to us through God’s grace. The four ordinands were invited to give their testimonies to a packed church, and the overwhelming response was that “they are worthy”. It was a fitting way to end the 241st Conference of the