This past Saturday, it was the Baptist Assembly in Harrogate. (And here's a picture of them!) Baptists from all over the country (and beyond) gathered in Yorkshire, and had conversations (and cake!) and watched films and remembered, and congratulated newly accredited ministers, and shared bread and wine, and did all the things that Baptists do when they get together.
There is a formal programme, which covers AGMs for the Baptist Union and The Baptist Missionary Society World Mission - good news about enthusiasm and new projects, not such good news on the financial front (and pensions provision is a nightmare); really interesting seminars (a fascinating reflection from the departing General Director of BMS, Rev David Kerrigan, on the nature of Baptist identity) and a very moving remembering ministers who have died, and a lively and joyous recognition of newly accredited ministers, and missionaries taking up new posts.
But the real energy and delight of Assembly is the time to meet - to meet friends, to make new friends, to hear news and catch up on what is going on (good and bad) around the country, It's the conversations over the cup of tea or in the train or late at night after the evening session.
A bit like local church really; we meet to worship, to discuss, to take decisions and undertake projects....and the real life is in the conversations in all sorts of contexts - washing dishes, studying Scripture on a Wednesday evening, or in Home Groups, going on a walk, or any of the numerous ways we gather.
There's all sorts of things to treasure about church life - but let's not miss the seemingly mundane...and let's celebrate the conversations that bind us together and deepen our life in God.