Bible by the beach
Bookings increased significantly for Britain’s third annual Bible by the Beach, a four-day convention held over the May bank holiday weekend.
The event, which was initiated by the Anglican Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, attracted more than 1000 adults and hundreds of children and young people.
Bishop Wallace said, ‘This is a flagship event for lively Bible teaching in the south-east’. According to the organisers, the hope is that this will take its place alongside the Keswick Convention and New Word Alive as a regular landmark fixture for evangelical Christians in the UK.
The theme this year was ‘Resurrection people’. Among those speaking were: R. Kent Hughes, former senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and author of Liberating ministry from the success syndrome; Rico Tice, from All Souls, Langham Place, originator and presenter of the Christianity Explored course; Archbishop Greg Venables; and Andrew Wilson, an expositor and writer from the Kings Church, Eastbourne.
Those leading the seminars included human rights campaigner Baroness Caroline Cox, founder and chief executive of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, and Oxford University professor John Lennox.
Prof. Lennox drew large audiences as he mounted a staunch defence of Christianity in the face of attacks by leading atheists such as Richard Dawkins. Sunday night’s packed evening celebration was a particularly memorable occasion, as Mr Tice spoke powerfully and effectively from Ephesians 2:1-10 on the theme ‘From death to life’.
His talk, which highlighted how Christians have moved from death to life, from earth to heaven and from wrath to rescue, was clear, direct and joyful. Mr Wilson’s talk on ‘The death of death’ was also much appreciated.
There was a lively interview at one of the evening events with Camille Kampouris, one of the late Jim Henson’s Muppeteers, who now helps head up an international Christian online teaching initiative (www.biblemesh.com). She shared something of her testimony and briefly reprised her role as the voice of some of Sesame Street’s best-known characters — to much laughter.
Archbishop Venables, who has ministered in South America for many years, gave a series of addresses, saying, ‘These are new days and God is working in wonderful ways around the world’.
Local dignitaries from Eastbourne attended, including MP Stephen Lloyd and the mayor, Councillor Carolyn Heaps. Plans are already under way for next year’s event, which will run from 4-7 May, when the theme will be ‘Christ in all the Scriptures’.
An offering on the Sunday raised more than £15,000, which will help fund the cost of the convention and assist a church plant in Santiago, Chile, initiated by the missionary organisation Crosslinks. Visit www.biblebythebeach.org