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Conference – Festival of Grace

November 2018 | by Adrian Freer

Over 80 people attended the 19th Gaulby Festival of Grace at St Peter’s Parish Church, Gaulby, in Leicestershire, on 8 September 2018. The event was inaugurated in 2000 to proclaim and celebrate the gospel of grace, build up believers in their holy faith and encourage them in their Christian walk. It has become one of the most significant rural parish events in Leicestershire.

Organisers say the Gaulby Reformed Evangelical Anglican Fellowship upholds the doctrines of the English Reformers, subscribes to the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England and uses the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. This year’s event theme was ‘Godliness in the Life of Christians’.

Rev. Maurice Roberts from Inverness spoke from Romans 5:1-2 on being ‘Justified by Faith’ with an exposition of justification by faith alone. Scripture tells us that through Adam’s disobedience came sin, condemnation and death; but through the perfect life and atoning death of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, comes obedience, justification and eternal life. We were reminded that we are justified instrumentally through faith, meritoriously through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross which was proved sufficient by his resurrection, declaratively which is demonstrated by our good works, and emotionally which is seen in the joy that true Christians possess.

Roland Burrows, pastor at Ebenezer Chapel, Old Hill (near Dudley) spoke from Philippians 4:8 on The Puritans, explaining their origins and summarising the characteristics of a Puritan life.  These include their total conformity to Scripture, their esteem of the value and independence of the individual, private reading of the Bible, a high view of preaching, the role of the mind and heart in conversion, the importance of prayer, the virtue of keeping a clear conscience, the importance of tolerance, the promotion of education for all, and their view of the Lord’s Day and worship.

Although sometimes maligned, the Puritans sought to live by the Scriptures and translate their beliefs into family life, society and the nation at large. Our nation could do with such ethics and morality today.

In the final address, Godliness: Adding to Faith, Rev. Roberts showed from 2 Peter 1:5-7 that the Christian life of sanctification begins at conversion.  To live the life that God requires, Christians need to know what is right, they may have to suffer for their faith and they should grow in truth.  Believers have the assurance that the Scriptures contain great and precious promises, and were written by holy men inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The event concluded by looking at the admonishments from Peter’s epistle for Christians to embrace seven important additions to their faith: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity (love).  The Holy Spirit enables believers to do this and so lead God-honouring lives. Despite the spiritual darkness with which we are surrounded, we were nevertheless encouraged that God is still adding to his church, believers are growing in grace and Christians are shining ever more brightly in the perilous times in which we live.

Adrian Freer, an occasional preacher in the Parish of Gaulby, said, ‘The event was a great encouragement. We were really blessed this year with excellent speakers and the church was packed’. The 2019 Gaulby Festival of Grace will be on Saturday 14 September 2019.

Adrian Freer