The Anabaptist Network’s residential conference took place between Saturday 28 and Monday 30 May 2005. The venue was the same as for our previous residential conference (in 2002): the Community for Reconciliation’s conference centre at Barnes Close, near Birmingham. The conference was almost fully subscribed with a mixture of people who had been involved in the Network for several years and others for whom this was their first Network event.
The theme for the conference was Anabaptist lifestyle explored – an opportunity to reflect together on the practical outworkings of key Anabaptist values in our lives as followers of Jesus. As mentioned in the Open Letter that accompanied our newsletter in May 2004, a feature of this stage in the life of the Anabaptist Network is our focus on down-to-earth discipleship issues. The residential conference reflected this.
We used the Network’s seven core convictions as the raw material for our exploration, inviting many of those who came to offer stories, questions, experiences, biblical reflections and practical examples to help us tease out the implications of our core values for life in the family, the church, at work and in society. Short interactive sessions were interspersed with worship, free time, meals and conversations.
Ali Phelps hosted the event and led us in worship (making very creative use of giant jenga blocks!). Karen Stallard, with help from Ruth Carter, presented several dramatic accounts from Anabaptist history, which were both humerous and poignant. Seven different people introduced the core convictions and led us in diverse forms of engagement: group work, creative writing, a debate, role play, etc. We had ten children with us who participated enthusiastically in many aspects of the event. This was a highly interactive, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable conference.
If you participated in this event, please add any comments below.