A stormy welcome awaited 81 of us at the Saunton Sands Hotel in North Devon as we gathered together for our annual Leaders Conference.

It was fantastic to welcome ministers, youth-children- and community workers, as well as spouses from across our network of churches, quite a few joined us for the very first time!

Our key speakers Kang-San Tan and Ken Benjamin led us on the theme of ‘Borderlands’ with some wonderful teaching, encouragements and challenges. We were also privileged to hear from their respective wives Loun and Sue.

Kang-San Tan and Loun Ling Lee
Ken and Sue Benjamin

Worship was led by Phil and Robyn Trainer, supported by the band, and we were blessed to be praising God under their wise and thoughtful leading.

Jo, Heulwen, Rib, Phil, Tom and Robyn

Two seminars on the themes of our climate emergency (with Kevin Durrant) and journeying beyond the walls of the church (with Ali Boulton, Alisdair Longwill and Lindsay Caplen) proved thought provoking and a great discussion point for many of us over dinner later that day.

Great conversations over dinner

As always, Saunton Beach was a stunning backdrop for reflection and prayer and was this year also the setting for the filming of ‘Operation Mincemeat’. The occasional gunfire we heard from the beach was, perhaps, a fitting metaphor for life and ministry on the borderlands sometimes.

Filming a World War 2 classic on Saunton Sands

Inspirational Pecha Kucha talks from Richard Pollard, Steve Thomson and Ali Boulton were a new addition to our conference and left many of us in awe of God’s goodness and love for all, including the most vulnerable within our reach.

As part of communion together we heard from Lindsay Caplen on the theme of keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the wind or the waves. Over £400 was collected for BMS World Mission and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as Eric Aidoo Jr shared his poem about the cost of the cross.

Eric Aidoo Jr

We’re so thankful to God for all that took place and for all those who helped make this such a good conference once again. Whether you were formally involved or simply chatted with someone on a walk or over breakfast, we are so glad you were there.

Look out for 2021 dates, venue and speakers in the near future.

Powerpoints from the Leaders Conference are as follows:

Seminar Zone Powerpoints: