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May 07, 2013



Good reflections Andy, thank you.

I feel the intergenerational worship could be amazing, and there are plenty of people who are doing it small scale in local churches who could/would be able to help realise that potential. I'm not convinced we need an 18 minute (plus) sermon in an intergenerational act of worship - 5 mins carefully crafted is feasible (I do it, as do countless others) but maybe that isn't consitent with a 'keynote speaker' model?

I keep out of the Twitter stuff - still can't work out how you can worship and tweet at the same time - and agree sometimes it is (positive or negative) just a knee jerk, not a considered response. Trouble is, it's a very public knee jerk.

Overall, though, in my view, one of the best Assmeblies I've been to.

Keith Jones

Andy,good comments - what is now needed is real interaction between the planners, worship designers and asll with those presented with a detailed timed, programme, words, instructions which reduce the possibility of creativity and spontaneity.

Certainly, the point at which Presidents can best help us is at the end of office, rather than disappearing off-stage into darkness.

Hopefully, Lynn can get the Union back on track with positive input, but let's take a moment to recall/remember/pray for BUGB staff who have been through a traumatic period at the hands of the regional "modernisers' sometimes with scant attention to the personal concerns for those affected. Here is a lament BUGB churches should have - how have we cared (not cared ?) for the "national resource" personnel for two years ?


Keith, could you elaborate on paragraph 1, either here on direct to wctgardiner@yahoo.co.uk - i coordinated the design team with apt

Nik Hookey


Thanks for the reflections, especially on the 'family' communion.

As a family we wrestled long and hard with whether to take our boys to communion, as we've had our fingers burned in the past at another big Christian event which completely ignored children at the 'all age' communion.

In the end we took them to it, and they liked some of the songs. However, when it came to the address, it was a little bit disastrous, as our family split up so that the boys could be thinly entertained with my wife at one of the stations. My boys do not like 'craft-work'!

The age old preacher's joke of taking a watch off and saying it meant nothing only added to the sense that there was going to be a long period when the kids were not engaged.

When it came to communion, I was quite excited by the beginning of the seder style question and answer begun by Nathaniel. We usually celebrate a messianic seder as a family each year, so the boys are quite used to being involved in the telling of the story of rescue. With some modifications, I think I could use that really well in Newcastle BC for an inter-generational communion.

However the thanksgiving prayer was rather too long to hold the kids' attention (or indeed, some of the adults!) I liked the invitation to take the bread and the wine, and I'm glad that it wasn't hedged about too much. I'm fairly certain that most of the disciples wouldn't have measured up to some of the standards in the invitation in Gathering for Worship!

I'm sure we can do so much better! Maybe next time's keynote speaker at the family communion should be a child? My Reuben is a master of answering his school homework with the least number of words he can get away with!

Jonathan Keyworth

Very fair and considered comments Andy, particularly regarding intergenerational communion. The key note speaker model does not fit at all, although they could ask an 'intergenerational specialist.'

Twitter was undoubtedly unhelpful. I have to admit to being one of the guilty critical tweeters, in a context where I found it very difficult to enter whole heartedly into worship. Promotion of twitter was a bit of a red rag to a bull. I was disappointed by the way in which tweets, writing on the walls, and the activity stations in communion, were introduced and plugged without any feedback incorporated into the sessions. They came across as parallel activities that had no interplay with the gathering as a whole.

There was very little in the way of a coherent journey in the evening sessions. It was all a bit fragmented with song and prayer interspersed with random (although interesting and important) contributions. I was surprised by the proportion of the time we spent singing, when comparably very little time was given to reports on the last year in union life, and little time was spent explaining the changes that have taken place at Didcot. The weighting of the elements seemed wrong. What is the purpose of the Baptist Assembly after all?

I had a great time nonetheless and think that BUGB and BMS did a good job in difficult circumstances. Also very excited by the appointment of Lynn as Gen Sec.

Patrick Gillan

Andy I suppose it's good the assembly discussed same sex relationships however this has historically been done without Gay Christians like myself being present. Was this the case this time and if so why?

Andy Goodliff

Patrick, here is the Baptist Times write up:
While there was no gay Christian on the 'platform', it was acknowledged that there may well be gay Christians amongst the delegates and those present. I recognise that you may not think this is good enough, but its a start, and again, perhaps a long-delayed one.


This was my first Baptist Assembly - I thoroughly enjoyed it!

There was lots of good stuff to take away from an inter-generational Communion. Please hear me in the context of a father of three boys aged 9, 5 and 3, albeit boys who were absent from the Assembly, so this is a skewed opinion!

An 18 minute sermon is a long time if there's nothing else to do, but the invitation and atmosphere created to get amongst the stations was excellent, and I think this was a good way to attempt to engage across the generations. The results of the stations were up and available to view for all in the afternoon, and I took a good 10-15 minutes examining all that people had drawn and written both there and on the response walls. The invitation to the table and execution of serving the sacraments was superb, but I do agree that at that point a long thanksgiving prayer was a bit incongruous, given the tone that was set initially.

As for twitter? Well, I'm a fairly enthusiastic user, so it made sense to me to be able to engage via that medium. Only once did I tweet DURING a service of worship, but I always checked it after the service, and engaged quickly if it took my fancy. It's still a young medium and I think we're all learning the best way to use it. For me, it had it's best use during the plenary sessions.

I had to leave Blackpool before the Monday plenary on same-sex relationships which I was dissapointed to miss. Thanks for your write up here. We love to talk about being an inclusive family, but all too often we fall disastrously short of the mark in our approach to anybody who isn't heterosexual, preferably married!

John Rackley

re Care for BUGB Personnel that's a grim comment Keith. Are you saying what other's can't or won't?


Read it. Challenged. Will do.


Andy, I should say that anything I write will have a bit of a 'glass half full, no wait it's actually overflowing' element to it, so whatever I produce may need to be read with a pair of grey-tinted spectacles... but I'm willing to have a go!

Now that I have stated my optimism can I add a comment about the family communion?- I have never heard so many 'daaaaaaad, I'm bored...,' from my 3 young children.

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