The weather isn’t always kind in Aberystwyth in August, but it has been the time and venue for the Evangelical Movement of Wales’ English Conference every year for 50 years. There are still some people — a declining number obviously — who have been present at every one.
Around 1500 people descend on the town whatever the weather to participate in this unique conference. The university’s Great Hall is well filled every day with a good cross-section of ages and nationalities; the singing is excellent, the preaching even better.
This year the weather was kind; a little rain now and then, but nothing like the storms that had been threatened.
The morning Bible readings were taken by Rev. David Meredith, until recently minister at Smithton Culloden Church (Free Church of Scotland), in Inverness.
He took us warmly, passionately and fluently through four chapters of Joshua. His preaching is a fine example of what Reformed preaching could and should be today.
Mr Meredith opened the text, drew clear lessons from it (not too many, not too heavy, not remote) and applied them with candour and freshness. His ministry was a treat.
A little more difficult, for me, was the ministry of Paul David Tripp. Unusually, he had been given three evenings and, though he preached warmly and said many helpful things, for me his sermons were a little ‘thin’ and padded with rather a lot of stories.
It’s worth saying though that nobody I spoke to agreed with me! These messages were topped and tailed helpfully by fine and moving ministry from Phil Hill and Paul Gamston. All the messages can be heard online.
As well as these main ministry sessions, there is, each year, a missions exhibition and various seminars for folk of different ages and interests.
For us, though, the great thing about Aber, compared with other conferences we have attended, is that the programme is not crowded. There is plenty of opportunity to do little except catch up with old friends; and it is a conference from which we do not return exhausted, which is a bonus.
Next year, the main ministry will be from Stuart Olyott, with Mike Reeves and Bill Bygroves also preaching. God willing, we will be there.