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Speakers and Sessions

For the Bala Conference

Speakers and sessions – at a glance

  • Phil Swann speaking on ‘An enduring ministry – 2 Timothy’
  • Andrew Carter speaking on ‘Mission in a Crumbling Culture ‘
  • Bob Cotton speaking on ‘An ordinary church but an extraordinary time’
  • Bernard Lewis speaking on ‘The saints everlasting rest’
  • Paul Wells speaking on ‘The image of God, implications for Mission’


Speakers and sessions in more detail (details added as we receive them)


Phil Swann speaking on ‘An enduring ministry – 2 Timothy


After a career as a Chartered Physiotherapist working primarily with Mental Health, Phil began in ministry as an Assistant Minister in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Following this he was as Associate Minister in Bridgend and in 1998 he became Pastor of Llanelli Free Evangelical Church, where he still is today. Phil has been teaching Pastoral theology on the EMW Theological Training Course since 2007. Phil is also a Trustee of the EMW with responsibility for its minister’s work in Wales, he also chairs the EMW Pastoral Team. To relax he enjoys seeing his wife cheer him on at events where he swims until he sinks, rides his bike until he’s cross eyed and runs until he falls over.

An enduring ministry – 

From prison Paul wrote to Timothy insisting he ‘endure hardship’, but how was he to do this? Paul’s great encouragement is to ‘Remember Jesus Christ’, and the same is true for us. We soon discover in gospel work that hardship and ministry go together. The apparent weakness of our situation and the indifference of our culture may lead us to function on the brink of failure and this affects our lives, our families and our ministries. But the Lord knows that our struggle is a mark of authentic ministry and He has great help and comfort for us. By these He gives us the grace to endure the hardship and thrive for His glory.

Paul Wells speaking on ‘The image of God, implications for Mission’


Paul Wells is a member of Aigburth Community Church in Liverpool. He taught Systematic theology for many years at the Faculté Jean Calvin in Aix-en-Provence, France. He is the editor in chief of Unio cum Christo (



The image of God, implications for Mission – 

Jesus Christ is the true image of God. In him the image defaced in the Fall of Adam, when humanity became dead to God, is restored. Restoration in Christ is in righteousness, holiness and love of the truth (Ep 4.24, Col 3.10). These define true humanity, rather than rationality, equality or freedom. This message cuts across today’s politically correct views of humanity. Personhood is defined before God through Christ, not by ourselves. This perspective needs to be the focus of preaching and evangelism.

Andrew Carter speaking on ‘Mission in a Crumbling Culture ‘


Andrew currently lives in Liverpool. Prior to Liverpool, he lectured in theology, Bible and worldviews at The African Bible University, Kampala, Uganda. Before Uganda he was Pastor of Therfield Chapel for 9 years, an evangelical church in North Hertfordshire. Andrew trained at Oak Hill Theological College before obtaining an MA in Systematic Theology at King’s College, London. He’s currently studying part-time for a PhD with the University of Durham on the writings of the late Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer. Andrew blogs at In younger days he gained a degree in Economics and Politics before teaching ‘A’ level economics for three years in Mombasa, Kenya and later seven years at The Lycée Français in South Kensington, London. Andrew is married to his best friend Julie and is blessed with six children.

Mission in a Crumbling Culture

Few commentators doubt that the UK is rapidly becoming a post-Christian society. Indifference and hostility are common reactions to gospel witness today. In that kind of climate, we need to give serious thought to understanding the thinking of our day but also to how we communicate and live in such a way that we make an impact. This message will explore these themes and seek to help church leaders prepare their flocks to make the most of every gospel opportunity.

Bob Cotton speaking on ‘An ordinary church but an extraordinary time – a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord’


Bob is married with three grown up children and seven grandchildren. He was in gospel ministry for 44 years and since retirement has spent 15 happy years working part time for EFCC as area secretary in East Anglia and London and preaching as an itinerant most Sundays. Currently also serving as an elder at Westgate Chapel, Bury St Edmunds. He is a keen cricket fan and loves to go and watch whenever possible.

An ordinary church but an extraordinary time

God can accomplish extraordinary things in an ordinary church and with ordinary people. That has been my experience. I pray that others will be encouraged as I share the story of how, many years ago, at this very conference I was challenged by listening to a brother sharing what God had done in the past when ministers, faced with a lack of spiritual life in their congregations, covenanted to pray together (the ‘Concert of Prayer’ that led to the Great Awakening). I was moved to take this to our home churches and fraternals and we covenanted to do the same – the resulting outcome was a measure of real blessing and conversions in our church in Bury St Edmunds at that time (and other fellowships around the country).

Bernard Lewis speaking on ‘The saints everlasting rest’


In this session, while I will give some time to the content of The Saints’ Everlasting Rest I want us to consider when Baxter lived and wrote. It was a turbulent political, theological and political time and by considering the book in its setting I hope to show that its message and content is invaluable in the theological, political and social turmoil of twenty-first century Britain.

Bernard Lewis grew up in Pembrokeshire, coming to faith in his early teens. He met his wife Linda while training as a teacher. After both teaching for some years he studied at London Theological Seminary followed by seven years of pastoral ministry in inner city south London. In 1991 they moved with their three children to Papua New Guinea with UFM. For seventeen years Bernard trained pastors and ran in-service conferences for the Evangelical Church of PNG. They returned to the UK in 2008 and continued working with UFM as well as teaching at WEST and LTS. Since February 2010 he has been pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Newport. Their three adult children are married and have nine grandchildren.