Cober Hill Retreat

EACH year the Yorkshire Baptist Ministers' Fellowship arranges a retreat for ministers at Cober Hill, near Scarborough. This year's took place last week. Here are some reflections from some of the people who attended.

Cober HillClick here to see what the Revd Chris Upton, minister at West Lane Baptist Church, Haworth, has to say.

First-timer the Revd Andy Williams, co-minister at Blackley Baptist Church, Elland, near, Halifax, writes: "This was my first YBA ministers' conference and I liked Cober Hill by the sea with a comfortable room and good food!
"Roy Searle offered a challenging session on pioneer ministry and a couple of quotes have stayed with me. 'To look as though we've never seen it before requires great courage' and 'the future is hubs and huddles, relational and organic.'
"Ian Stackhouse was excellent as the main speaker, thought provoking and encouraging deep reflection on the practice of ministry. I was particularly struck by his notion of 'the pastor/minister as a parable of Jesus'. I loved the chance to watch the breakers on the nearby beach and as a new kid on the block I felt welcome among the YBA ministers. A good time - thank you!"

A regular attender, the Revd Paul Greenin, minister at Bramley Baptist Church, Leeds, writes: "This will have been my third Cober Hill Conference. I enjoy each one more than the one before as I get to know more people who become friends. I know there are other conferences out there but Cober Hill offers the opportunity to meet with other YBA (and now NBA) ministers and I find we immediately have something in common in serving the Yorkshire communities. The speakers have all been good and always have a challenge to offer. I recommend the conference as an opportunity to meet with Jesus outside our normal context."

Food for thought from the Revd Pat Took, minister at Albemarle Baptist Church, Scarborough: "It is always a pleasure to be well fed, and the YBA Conference at Cober Hill last week offered good food both for body and heart.
"Excellent food and a friendly welcome looked after the body, and Ian Stackhouse  provided a thoughtful and personally engaged diet for the mind. Then, of course, friendships made and renewed warmed the heart. And for some, being out
of the pressure cooker for a few days was a life-saver. Many thanks!"

The Revd Wayne Clarke, minister at New North Road Baptist Church, Huddersfield, writes: "For me the best thing about the Cober Hill Conference each year is the people you meet. This year the YBA ministers met with ministers from the Northern Association, so we heard stories from Durham, Teesside and Tyneside. I met Bill, who is pioneering a new kind of church in Glendale in Northumberland, building on the natural spirituality of that place.
"It reminded me that every place has its own spirituality, located in its people, rooted in its history and its culture. I was challenged to seek the spiritual heart of the place where I minister, to seek out where God is at work where I am. I came home from Cober Hill with new eyes to see God at work in the place where he has called me."

The Revd Graeme Dodds, Team Leader at Harehills Lane Baptist Church, Leeds, sees the retreat as a yearly essential - and is now on next year's planning group! He writes: "It was a fab time at Cober for me. It has not always been the case in previous years. Ian Stackhouse brought us back to the essentials of pastoral ministry in his challenging sessions on "Primitive Piety" - excellent. It was good to be there with the NBA as well. Great to have a "shared" retreat with them. I've had a change of heart concerning the Cober ministers' retreat. I've seen Cober as a yearly essential for me - so much so Ive become part of the planning group for next year. I'm going to speak to other ministers who, like me in the past, may misjudge Cober as being of little value. Looking forward to next time!"

And "flying visitor" the Revd James Chapman, lead minister at Cemetery Road Baptist Church, Sheffield, writes: "I didn’t turn up until the final evening and missed all sessions. But from what I did see, it was well-organised, delegates were listened to and the sharing with NBA worked well. Always the social time is good, and plenty of opportunity to get to know new and familiar faces alike. A priority for next year in my diary!"

Photo copyright Cober Hill - reproduced with permission.