In the wake of the February 22 earthquake a number of us have been exploring ways that we can bless and affirm our own Baptist family and the people of Christchurch. We started exploring the possibility of moving this year's Gathering from Hamilton to Christchurch. We’re aware that conferences are looking to move out of Christchurch, as we’ve been approached about giving up our booking on our Hamilton venue so that an ex-Christchurch conference can take place. We want to make the opposite statement of affirmation and say, "we are coming to Christchurch."
We will be able to use Lincoln University, who can provide accommodation for 500, cater for meals and provide all of the meeting spaces we will need. The Gathering is going to have a different shape this year as we will conduct all of our family business on the Thursday evening and Friday morning. That would be carried out at the new Lincoln Baptist Church Centre, who will be happy to host that section. We encourage all of our visitors to stay on for the Sunday and bless the Canterbury churches with their presence. Offers of guest preaching would be appreciated.
We have an exciting Gathering in prospect with the theme “Being the Body, Nobody Missing,” plus outstanding international guests – Mark Holmen (USA) with his “Faith begins at Home” ministry (www.faithbeginsathome.com); John Dawson, the international head of YWAM; and Kiwi icons Ian and Mary Grant.
Because of the Lincoln University venue, apart from Lincoln Baptist, there is no expectation of Canterbury contributions in mounting the Gathering. We want Canterbury people to register for the Gathering and come as our guests, without the need to pay for the conference.
May the Lord bless you in the midst of your ministry.