Tuesday, 10 June 2008

CBA Assembly - Outside in, inside out: church and culture in conversation

On Saturday we held our annual Central Baptist Association Assembly, this year at Stopsley Baptist Church, Luton. Ever since coming to the CBA, I have experienced these events as very good occasions, with inspiring worship, great keynote speakers, and stimulating seminars. And this year was no exception, with John Weaver, the BU President drawing us into his theme, ‘Outside in, inside out: church and culture in conversation’. John opened windows, deepened our thinking, and provoked us to engage more fully with our culture and world. He made several references to Brian McLaren’s ‘Everything Must Change’, which I must order – sounds like a worthwhile read.

I hosted one of the seminars, ‘Not for sale – internationally or at home’: sexual exploitation here and abroad, led by Hannah Wilson, the BMS Representative for Counter Trafficking, & Hilary Wilmer, Chair of the Coalition for the Removal of Pimping. They were superb, although predictably it was gritty stuff. I was given a part in an ad-hoc drama, playing the part of a pimp, which was a first for me!

My colleague, Colin Pye, is a worship leader I appreciate. He’s contemporary in style, yet draws on a wide range of material. He excels at putting together creative liturgies, combining words with stunning visuals. He began the day with this prayer taken from ‘Gathering for Worship, Patterns and Prayers for the Community of Disciples’ – it’s a gem!

Walk softly as you come here
for this is holy ground.
God dwells in this place.
God the Lord of time and space
was here before us,
and is here now.

Tread carefully as you come here
for this is holy ground.
By God’s life-giving word
every creature was spoken into existence,
and is loved into eternity.
God the Lord of abundant life
was here before us
and is here now,

Walk quietly as you come here
For this is holy ground.
Now is the time
and here is the place:
to listen intently to God’s Spirit within us;
to see, as for the first time,
the hidden depths
of Christ’s suffering for us;
to look expectantly
for the signs of God’s Kingdom around us.

Holy God:
softly, carefully, quietly,
we come here,
celebrating your presence
within us
and between us,
this day and always.


Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks, Geoff for Colin's prayer — a gem — will use!


Chris Shrimpton said...

Hi Geoff, I like that prayer -what a great way to help us slow down as we take time to recognise God's presence and worship Him. Enjoy reading your blog by the way - apols I haven't commented sooner. Chris Shrimp!