Theme and Speeches
“Ye shall be witnesses unto me,” declared the risen Lord to His eleven disciples, just moments before He ascended into heaven. According to Christ’s command, prophecy, and promise, His gospel, church, and kingdom have spread from Jerusalem to Judaea to Samaria and “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Today, the Christian church is “more global” than ever before, but the church’s official work in its missionary labors and the believer’s personal witness are as necessary as they have ever been. But what must we say as Christ’s witnesses? How must we witness? Where and when? We need direction from the Word of God, plus wisdom and courage!
To help us in this vital calling—whether in far-off climes or in our own families or neighborhoods—the 2012 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Family Holiday Conference at Lorne House, N. Ireland (28 July-4 August) has chosen as its theme “Ye Shall Be My Witnesses.” Profs. David Engelsma and Herman Hanko are to develop this subject in the six main speeches:
1. The Divine Calling to Witness
2. The Content of the Witness
3. The Official Witness of the Church
4. The Personal Witness by the Word
5. The Personal Witness of a Godly Life
6. The Manner of a Christian Witness
Also, Rev. Martyn McGeown of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) in the Republic of Ireland is to give a special lecture on missionary work.
Fellowship and CPRC Building
Lord willing, saints shall be present from all parts of the British Isles: England, Wales, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland; plus friends from various parts of continental Europe and further afield, including brethren from the Protestant Reformed Churches in the US and Canada. Do come and join us! In short, members of Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church shall come from near and far, and from north, south, east, and west, to learn about witnessing and to enjoy fellowship with each other and with the triune God, for “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).
On the Lord’s Day during the conference (29 July), we plan to hold two services, one at the conference center and the other at the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church (CPRC) in Ballymena. This way, we provide Sunday worship services for members of the CPRC who are not at the conference and are unable to journey to Lorne House, and also for those at the conference who do not fancy the hour and a half round trip to Ballymena. Also, this arrangement will enable those from the British Isles or Europe or the rest of the world who would like to see the new CPRC building to do so—provided they have rented a vehicle or can get a lift/ride with someone to one or both of the services in Ballymena!
Venue and Activities
Lorne House is a beautiful old building with lots of character—complete with a solarium and free wireless Internet access!—set in a 20-acre estate just 5-10 minutes’ walk from Belfast Lough with beautiful coastal walks both east and west. These will make for excellent strolls after, say, evening lectures! The grounds of Lorne include a campsite (where some have already told us that they will be staying in tents for the week of the conference), a games room, woods, two fine children’s play parks, a stream (where some can go on the river run), an archery range, and a bungee trampoline. These last three activities are instructor-led and paid for at the conference.
For those who would like to spend some of their free time off-site, a train station is nearby, with frequent service to Belfast (the capital of Northern Ireland) just eight miles to the west, and Bangor (a seaside resort) only five miles to the east.
The BRF is arranging two day trips. One is to the new Titanic museum, which will open in the spring of 2012 in time for the centenary of the launch and sinking of the famous Belfast-made RMS Titanic, the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time. As the Titanic T-shirt says, “It was all right when it left here!” The captain rammed it at full speed into a large iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York!
The second trip is along the east Antrim coast—one of Rev. Slopsema’s favorite scenic drives. This will include the impressive Carrickfergus Castle, built by the Normans in the twelfth century, plus a lighthouse, walled garden, harbor, waterfall, etc. (D.V.).
Cost and Booking Forms
The cost for one week full board is as low as the BRF can make it, while retaining the hope of breaking even, for we are going to one of the most reasonably-priced conference centers in the British Isles, and the BRF keeps its running expenses as low as possible.
Booking forms are on the BRF website (www.britishreformedfellowship.org.uk), and those in North America who are interested in attending should contact Mrs. Cyndi Kalsbeek (firstname.lastname@example.org). Those elsewhere should communicate with Mary Stewart (email@example.com).
We hope to see many of you at the 12th Biennial BRF Conference in Northern Ireland!