In March, 120 men and women met at Dewsbury Evangelical Church for a lively, interesting conference on ‘Pursuing peace in all your relationships’.
The speaker was Dr Robert D. Jones, professor of biblical counselling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Many attendees hold positions of responsibility in evangelical churches across northern England. This reflects the conference’s origin over 30 years ago at Whitby as the North of England Church Officers’ Conference.
The more recent opening of the conference to other Christians has brought in many younger adults keen to grow in Christian life and service.
There was time for Q&A and news-sharing sessions from SASRA and some local churches. Otherwise the three main teaching sessions consisted of addresses by Dr Jones on ‘Pleasing our peace-making God in response to his grace’, ‘Dealing humbly with your contribution to the conflict’, and ‘Loving wisely the other person whatever the conflict’.
He analysed the dynamics of maintaining peace and of conflict-resolution between Christians, including within marriages. His addresses were well constructed, biblical, pastorally sensitive, and carefully explained.
The ethos of the conference, through Dr Jones’s gentle and informal teaching style, became that of a modern-day, ‘Puritan-type’, pastoralia session, with a strong emphasis on pleasing Christ and ‘keeping the heart’ (Proverbs 4:23).
There was an ample bookstall run by 10ofThose and time for fellowship over refreshment breaks and lunch. A very worthwhile conference, for which Dr Jones and the conference organisers deserve our gratitude.
By Roger Fay