From 16 to 18 February 2016, the International Conference on Fresh Expressions took place in 291Goodwood, near Cape Town, in the Western Cape. This marked the first time that such a Conference had been held outside of the United Kingdom. The UPCSA was represented by a significant delegation (25 or so) including the Moderator of General Assembly, the General Secretary, the Clerk of the Assembly and the Convener of the Priorities and Resources Committee.
The UPCSA also hosted one of the Conference Speakers, Mrs Vera White, who co-ordinates the Presbyterian Church (USA) project “1001 New Worshipping Committees”. This project seeks to facilitate
the PC(USA)’s drive to grow by planting new worshipping communities that may not look anything like the “pews and pulpit” institutional church but are nevertheless authentic “Jesus” Communities of worship, learning, serving and care.
The Conference included six keynote addresses which explored the six key emphases of fresh expressions. “What is a fresh expression?” “True worship”, “authentic relationships”, “mixed economy”, “discipleship” and “community Transformation”.
There were a combination of International and local speakers including our Prof. Jerry Pillay.
Workshops were held each afternoon and opportunities for story telling in the last session of each day.
On Wednesday, Vera White told the story of how the Presbyterian Church (USA) decided to adopt the
ambitions objective of starting or recognizing 1001 New Worshipping communities. The Conference and the Fresh Expressions Movement (of which the UPCSA is a partner) has given us the confidence to engage our members and leaders in developing strategies that will help us to be a growing denomination.
More importantly, of course, is that you and I have the confidence to reshape our story and, in the
process, work with God for the transformation of our neighbourhoods and cities.