Thursday, May 20, 2010

Marking the end of an era

I had my last Assembly Project Team meeting yesterday. After five years of running Prism, I have hung up my flip flops and made way for someone else to take the Assembly's alternative to new heights.

It's been a great ride from the first Assembly planning meeting I attended where I suggested giving the Assembly a multi-focal feel by offering an alternative way of accessing its themes. Many large Christian gatherings already offered an alternative programme and hundreds of churches across the country had been moving away from the one-size fits-all approach to events for more than a decade.

So Prism was a response to those trends and an attempt to help the Assembly appeal to those who are sceptical about the well-managed set piece celebration event so beloved of evangelicals over the past generation.

And I reckon that it has offered a fresh and worthwhile alternative to what's happening in the other place at the Assembly, giving delegates a chance to explore our faith in a more interactive, participatory and, let's face it, more personal because smaller, space.

There's no doubt that The Assembly needs this kind of fresh thinking if it's going to attract the large - and growing - numbers of Baptists who are not attending our annual gathering. In particular, we have to address the fact that the under 50s aren't turning up in the numbers we'd hope and the under 30s are conspicuous by their almost total absence from the event.

I don't think Prism is the whole answer. But I do think that it embodies an approach to gathering that could be attractive to people who currently don't make the annual pilgrimage to the seaside. So, I wish whoever takes it on every success and will be praying that they bring fresh thinking and boldness to making Prism (or whatever it will be called) better and better.


Lucy Wright said...

I hope something like this does continue as I enjoyed it this year and would go again to 'alternative service'. So thanks - from one of the 'nearly absent 20's'!

David Hughes said...

Thanks, Simon, for establishing Prism and for all the hard work you've put into it over the last 5 years. I've come along each of those years, as I'm not such a 'big stage' person, and have appreciated its varied incarnations - this year's was particularly effective, I thought.

Prism, or something similar, must continue!

Catriona said...

Echoing the views above... thank you for all you've done with others in establishing Prism.

Not all of it has been to my taste and not of all of its has 'worked' (whatever that means) for me any more than 'The Other Place.' But even in those moments I'm glad it's been there for precisely those those reasons... one size does not fit all, one style does not suit anyone all the time, and all of us sometimes need something different.

Hope that doesn't read as negative. I am a big fan of Prism, of the Still Centre prayer space, and all the endeavours to make the "English Assembly"* more than just the main stage.

Thank you for all you've done in establishing something that many of all ages now value hugely...

A not so common 40 something

* as seen from Scotland!

Craig Gardiner said...

So saturday night key speaker is sorted for next year!
Thanks for all your work over the past Tis it only) five years... Assmembly seems inconceivable without Prism now. Thanks for it all