I've been at Swanwick now two weeks running, but what struck me was the very different feel to the two gatherings. Our conversations with Alan Roxburgh gave me an expansive view, looking outwards, whereas this weeks BU Council meetings have caused me to look inwards - at our system, rather than my own inner being. I should not be surprised, however, bearing in mind the nature of the two, every different gatherings. With Alan we explored our system and it was fascinating to pick up on some of the similarities elsewhere.
Our Council was dominated by the challenges presented by our Pension Fund and a rather large challenge it is. How the news is going to be received is a big concern - especially when it co-incides with a push for more giving to Home Mission. Whether this will be the switch to force us to look at things differently remains to be seen. A number of things fascinate me about how we do our business as Baptists. One is how we seem to ignore some of the common-sense guidelines we apply at local church level when we get together nationally. For example, I'm always encouraging Ministers to provide information ahead of time when crucial decisions are faced, not to expect people to take on board in one meeting what the leadership have been discussing, in detail, for months. So, what do we do? Keep everything under wraps and then present an hours worth of information about our pension crisis and expect everyone to get on board!