Back home from the Assembly so time to write a few comments on the weekend (which will be of little interest if you weren't there).
Overall I think it went well. For me the personal highlight was Steve Holmes lecture on the Sunday afternoon. The childrens programme was also much better this year.
But what about the themes I highlighted in my previous post?
Worship: A great improvement on last year. Saturday morning's Bible Study and Sunday evening's meeting managed to weave Scripture, song and prayer together. I hope the trajectory established this year continues.
Speakers: I thought Neville Callam was good on Saturday evening. While it is good and right to have speakers from the wider church I also wish we could find a way to give more space in plenary sessions to hearing from British Baptists; speaking to a larger congregation takes practice but we need to develop the gifts of those among us.
Theme: It was a great theme but one that could have been developed much more if session titles with a sharper focus had been chosen instead of the broad ones used. I would have hoped that by the end of the weekend participants might have been reminded of a series of significant historical moments and some key themes for contemporary baptist identity. We could, for example, have made 6 or 7 short vt clips that could then be placed on a DVD for local churches could use to explain Baptist history and principles. (I ought to mention Prism at this point because although I only went to one session on Friday evening they seem to have picked this up and made more of it.)
Putting on the assembly takes an enormous amount of work and I'm grateful to people who put in the hours pulling it all together….all I can say is it is time to get to work on Plymouth 2010.