Car packed? Rooms booked? Satnav charged and set? Off we go! It’s August and time for ‘Aber’.
The Aberystwyth Conference, arranged by the Evangelical Movement of Wales (EMW) and run now for 50 years or so, has a distinctive ethos of its own. A shade more traditional than other conferences perhaps, and certainly less hectic than many, it has become one of the spiritual highlights of our year.
The main conference begins on the Monday evening, with the preaching meetings held in the light and airy university Great Hall, which seats about 1200. It was well filled all week, with around 1600 in total estimated to have been present for part of the conference.
It is always thrilling to see a large number of young people drinking in the Word of God. Just as thrilling is the number of senior saints who are there every year, refreshing and encouraging us as their mere presence and enthusiasm testify powerfully to the grace of God. Young and old need one another.
This year, the much appreciated Alistair Begg led the four morning Bible readings. He spoke on lessons in discipleship and evangelism from the ministry of Jesus.
Alistair, who hails originally from Scotland but ministers in Cleveland, Ohio, has the unique gift of an often humorous, straight-talking manner that takes the message of the Bible straight to the heart.
As one friend said to me afterwards, ‘It’s not so much anything in particular he said, but his ministry just makes me want to go and live for Christ!’ That, as they say, is a result.
Four different preachers took the five evening meetings, and the highlight of these was the two sessions led by Iain D. Campbell. He preached on two very difficult passages, Romans 7 and Galatians 2, and managed to make them seem both straightforward and thrilling.
With accommodation provided in student residences or hotels, a well stocked and selective bookstall, an exhibition of ministries and missionary societies, and with children and young people well catered for, it was an outstanding week.
Next year’s conference speakers include Don Carson and Joel Beeke and promises to be equally blessed. Is there anything the organisers could improve? Well, they could look into lowering that hill down to the town centre!