Unique Baptism at BUC Lay Bible Workers' Convention
29th November 2018
With each year the British Union Conference (BUC) Lay Bible Workers' Convention continues to be bigger and larger, and this year was no exception. In fact, the theme for the weekend conference held over 23-25 November at the DeVere Conference Centre in Staverton, was 'Going Big!'
With up to 20 presenters 6 of whom from overseas, and 450 lay members from around the BUC attending 50 various seminars, this year built on the successes of the past and created new innovations and variances to enhance the programme.
At a conference like this there's a lot of planning behind the scenes for months in advance and Dr Kirk Thomas BUC Evangelism director and his secretary Kerrine Guthrie prepared well to provide a well organised registration and weekend event that left attendees not only on a spiritual high but better equipped to deal with mission and evangelism in the local church.
The weekend commenced Friday evening with greetings and welcome by Dr Thomas and with his engaging smile and enthusiastic approach the tone was set for the first of the overseas guests, the popular and returning speaker Dr Louis Torres. Through his calm teaching style, the audience were invited into a relational dialogue as he taught in the areas of leading people to making decisions for Christ, discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit and biblical insights in leading a Bible study.
The main speaker each evening was Dr Clifford Jones who serves as the President of the Lake Region Conference in the USA. He gave expository messages on biblical themes surrounding the task of being equipped and empowered to engage in mission and ministry. Some of the topics he spoke on were 'Revival or Funeral' based on the vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-3. 'Pentecost Now' was another message where he contrasted the events at the Tower of Babel leading to confusion in language to the Day of Pentecost, where there was understanding of language. He challenged listeners in putting cultural differences aside, to learn to 'speak the same language' that we may experience the revival of Pentecost.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included a powerful testimony by Michael Garkov (ASI Europe Treasurer) on his evangelistic trip to Zambia together with his wife Miroslava and the encounters they faced during their time in the face of spiritual warfare. Yet despite their challenges they persevered and 46 people were baptised.
Another highlight was the first baptism at a BUC Lay Bible Workers' Convention. Married couple Mr and Mrs Sadiq, who had been studying with two Newbold ministerial students for the past seven months were baptised in the swimming pool of the hotel. Coming into the Adventist Church from another faith was a huge step for both of them who along the path experienced as a result of their decision to be Christians, family disownment, loss of job and spiritual attacks. Yet despite this Mr Sadiq declared after his baptism, "The fellowship made us feel at home. I saw Jesus in people today." Mrs Sadiq also declared, "I was scared going into the water, coming out I was calm and assured." Both students studying with the couple who also works with the South England Conference (SEC) Adventist Muslim Relations (AMR) team said, "It is inexpressibly joyous when someone gives their life to Christ, especially those who are from a non-Christian background." Afterward both new members were given the Right Hand of Fellowship by the guest speakers to much rejoicing by those in attendance.
With a vast array of seminars, notable presenters included General Conference Publishing director Pastor Almir Marroni, who spoke on 'The Past, Present and Future of Literature Distribution', Neville Neviling from AWR360 who spoke on 'Cell-Phone Ministry' and Pastor Sam Davis, former SEC President, a welcomed returnee, who led out in 'Bible Worker Strategies for Success'.
Added features for the weekend, included the prayer room, WOW club for the teens with SEC speaker Pastor Max Mckenzie-Cook and a praise team led by Tina Brooks that all catered for a vibrant spiritual atmosphere.
The effective work of the SEC Media team not only ensured the sound and audio visuals ran smoothly but provided live streaming of the main presentations. The rebroadcasts can be seen here.
Some of the comments at the end of the weekend by those who attended were positive and included statements such as – "inspiring weekend with lots to take away with me", "I feel more motivated now to get involved with my church and community", "I always enjoy coming here, I never fail to learn something new."
Dr Thomas in his closing words and vote of thanks shared a little of the plans in store for the near future including evangelistic training and programmes in North Wales, a SEEDS conference and hosting GC initiative events. It certainly seems when it comes to the equipping and training of members, the BUC Sabbath School and Evangelism department is thinking big and moving forward.
[Richard Daly - Photography Theo Guthrie and Kevin Thomas]