JAEC 2017 Report
Posted by Michael Hayden, 12 Sep 2017
Michael Hayden reports from the 2017 JAEC conference: Reforming and Renewing the Church: Anglican Reformations Past and Future.
Junior Anglican Evangelicals from across the U.K. and beyond gathered from the 29th- 31st August 2017 in the King’s Park Conference Centre, Northampton for the 7th annual Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference (pronounced “Jake”). The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Reforming and renewing the Church: Anglican reformations past and future,’ and we were encouraged in this 500th anniversary year of the Ninety-Five Theses to consider what lessons the Reformation might hold for us in our mission to reform and renew the Church in our own day.
The conference was opened by Mike Reeves, President of Union School of Theology, who spoke on the theme of ‘Celebrating the Reformation.’ Mike examined both the material and formal principles of the Reformation (justification by/through faith alone, and sola scriptura, respectively), and explored how we might incorporate them into our lives today.
Delegates then heard from Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, who spoke on ‘Josiah’s Reformation,’ from 2 Kings 22. It was fascinating to see that the defining event of Josiah’s life was the rediscovery of the Word of God, after its suppression by his father and grandfather, and that this led to sweeping Reformation of Judah, and even the surrounding nations. We were then exhorted to make Scripture central to the Reformation we seek today. Bishop Andrew finished by imploring that we be personally reformed before we begin to seek the reform of others. When they see that we’re “full of grace and truth,” they may be more receptive to our message.
We heard briefly from Stephen Trott, Rector of Pitsford with Boughton, and a local Army Cadet Force Chaplain. Stephen spoke on the many and varied opportunities to preach the Gospel presented by the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department.
After a marvellous dinner, we heard from our own Lee Gatiss, who gave us the traditional “strategy talk,” entitled “Reformation and the Bible.” Speaking from 2 Timothy 3, Lee challenged us to Judge the times in which we live, Avoid charlatans in the church, Endure suffering in godly imitation, and Continue using the Bible in every ministry (the initials of which memorably form the acronym JAEC).
Day 2 got off to a great start with Simon Vibert on “Enemies of Reformation.” Simon presented material from William Gurnall and John Owen on the theme of the mortification of sin. Simon challenged us that there is no standing still in this area; we’re either moving forwards or backwards.
Rob Munro then spoke on the theme of “Reformation today,” wherein he encouraged us to See God’s sovereignty, Submit to his Word, and Serve his people. We were challenged to engage fully in the Church of England, at all levels, and also engage fully in our local communities, for the good of the Church and the good of our nation.
The afternoon saw a number of workshops, on themes such as “getting through a BAP,” “Making the most of College and Curacy,” and “Establishment.” Many delegates spoke of how helpful they found these workshops, and how much they appreciated the wisdom of those leading them. Before dinner there was a stimulating panel discussion, made up of some of our speakers and other guests.
The evening ended with the usual quiz, this year entitled the “Pointless Would I lie to become a Celebrity Anglican Millionaire Quiz,” which was ably (and amusingly) led by Associate Director Ros Clarke. The best team won, of course, and were suitably rewarded with free books.
Ros returned to open up the final day with “Reforming women’s ministry.” She presented the fascinating results of a survey she had performed on provision for women’s ministry and training in evangelical churches (of both an egalitarian and a complementarian persuasion). We saw that things are improving in this area, but Ros implored us to continue taking it seriously and working towards parity between men’s and women’s ministry.
After this we heard from Paul and Becky Harcourt of New Wine, on the theme on “Personal Reformation.” Paul and Becky both shared their incredibly moving testimonies, to show how God can reform both our heads and our hearts. Paul then traced some of the slogans of the Reformation, and explored how they might practically impact us today.
Lee Gatiss then closed the conference by exhorting us to continue the conversation, both amongst one another and in wider circles. He reminded us that our associations matter, and that we should be preparing ourselves for government, for such a time as when Reformation once again grips the church.
There was much time and space built into the programme to allow for further discussion to be had and for relationships to be built and strengthened. This year saw the introduction of small groups, which allowed us to meet with those who were at a similar stage of discernment and ministry to us, in order to share stories and pray for one another. There was the usual plethora of books of course, and some of us came away with far too many…
This year’s JAEC was the best I’ve been to (and the others were excellent!); we were fed by some excellent speakers, who all made sure to consider how what they were teaching might practically apply to our lives. We have been built up and prepared to seek the Reform and Renewal of the Church of England, for the glory of God and the good of England. JAEC “aims to help us be more effective as Anglican Evangelicals, making the most of everyopportunity to reach the lost for Jesus, build up the church through his word, and send workers into God’s harvest field,” and this year’s conference has gone a long way towards achieving that aim.
Michael Hayden is the Ministry Apprentice at Castle Church, Stafford.
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