The pattern at Aber is to have four morning addresses given by one main speaker and various other speakers who speak in the five evening meetings. People book their accommodation from Saturday to Saturday and so with so many people about, arrangements are made so that everyone can go to church. First, the EMW themselves organise services in one of the chapels. This year the preachers were Ollie Gross and Paul Kosciecha. Meanwhile, the regular Alfred Place congregation move over the street to Bethel, where my father-in-law Geoff Thomas preaches. For many years now he has done series which also includes a third stripped down service on Monday morning, that I usually lead. Geoff tackled Deuteronomy 29:29 looking at the secret things (such as when Christ will return) and the revealed things (such as how to be contented). As ever, the series was very much appreciated, people ordering loads of CDs.
Geoff was also the main speaker on the first evening of the conference proper where in the warmest and most pleading terms, arms open wide, called upon all to strive to enter the narrow gate.
Paul Levy (Swansea boy now a neighbour of mine in Ealing) spoke on the second evening on the blind man of Luke 18. This was done very competently with occasional humorous asides and lots of exegesis. Perhaps it lacked a little urgency.
David Meredith of Smithton-Culloden Free Church (yes, yet another Presbyterian) was given two nights as men sometimes are. Again very competent, he took us, successively, to Acts 1 and Acts 2. The two messages were full of good things, chiefly for believers. In his attempts at self-criticism he perhaps gave the impression of being rather negative about some Christians but his intentions were good. The suggestion that Christians are arguing over the colour of the hymn book was rather bizarre and inaccurate. I'd not heard that quip before that when we freeze water, we make ice cubes. When God freezes water, he makes snowflakes – each one different (apparently Vaughan Roberts at the Lausanne Conference last year)
Gwynn Williams (Caerdydd) closed the conference well tonight with an encouraging message from the close of Romans 16 as we leave the glass house of the conference and head back to reality.
So good solid preaching, not much of it very expository or evangelistic but heartening nevertheless. To sit with 1200 others and listen was a joy indeed.