CPA National Conference 2014 Report
Dear all I hope this finds you all well!?
Andy Robinson has written a report on our trip to the national C.P.A. Conference in Norfolk. The weekend was a wonderful time of reflection and fellowship with our brothers and sisters from across the C.P.A. nationally. I had intended to add a further reflection to what Andy has written but I think that both what Andy has to say and Psalm 37 say it all this month other than to highlight verse 7- ‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.’
I would also remind you all that the National Day of prayer for the Police is this week- I will be sending out a prayer guide tomorrow evening so if you haven’t signed up and would like to please e-mail me back!
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently on Him’ Psalm 37:7”
On the first May bank holiday weekend of 2014, I attended my first National CPA Conference at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre in south east Norfolk. I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d write a report about the weekend for two reasons. Firstly, to let everyone know what happened over two days and secondly to encourage members to attend next year – it really was brilliant and I wish I’d been sooner! The Hertfordshire branch was represented by three members – Me, Keith Evans (Branch Leader), and Tash Evans (and one honorary small member!). We were joined by over a hundred CPA members from across the UK.
The conference kicked off on Friday with a council meeting before the majority of delegates arrived in the evening. It was interesting to get an overview of the “business” side of the CPA and catch a glimpse of the direction that the leadership is taking various aspects of the work of the CPA nationally. The highlight for me was being recommended and confirmed as Deputy Branch Leader for Hertfordshire. I have been getting gradually more involved in aspects of our CPA branch and I look forward to continuing this work, albeit with a formal position.
The food provided by the conference Centre was first class and when everyone arrived from the four corners of the UK on Friday evening, we enjoyed the first of many excellent meals. This was followed by an evening celebration with music and worship lead by a band from a local church, and then a few drinks at the bar (newly installed in anticipation of the arrival of the CPA!)
For the early birds there was a prayer meeting on Saturday morning, followed by a hearty breakfast. Don Axcell, Chief Executive of the CPA then led the AGM, and we had time for praise and worship with another excellent local church band.
The afternoon session comprised of three seminars.The first was given by Richard Stephens, who is involved with Kairos Prison ministry. He described his work with passion, humour and enthusiasm, giving an insight into the power of God to change the lives of even the most prolific and hardened criminals. It gave me encouragement and inspiration to know that those caught in a life of crime can change, by accepting that they need the saving power of Jesus in their lives to deal with past wrongs, and having a new start. Pursuing and catching offenders can be the start of a life changing journey for some, and going to prison can mean that someone shows genuine love and compassion and shares the gospel message with them.
The second seminar was given by Val Dodsworth from House of Genesis who told us about her ministry to ex-offenders. When her husband died she decided to open her own home to those in need after release from prison. She dedicated her retirement from the probation service to house, counsel, and support those who wanted to change their lives. She also spoke with conviction and excitement about her work, and gave some amazing testimony as to how some of those she had taken in had given their lives to Jesus. She illustrated how Christ’s love is not a religious ideology, but a tangible reality, demonstrated in a practical way by those who have had their lives radically changed by God.
The final session was led by Jill Gower from Call to Prayer, who has a spoke about prayer and blessing. I for one, struggle with my prayer life, but her words were a reminder just how important prayer is for every aspect of life. We have a way to communicate with God and have relationship with him and to ignore this and not make time to pray affects our faith. It is like trying to have a relationship with your family members without ever speaking or listening to them! She gave us some exercises to do in groups to inspire is with way to fuel our prayer life, which were very helpful.
Despite the threatening clouds that loomed over Norfolk, we successfully managed to partake in a barbeque on Saturday night, with a spread of food fit for royalty and conversation and to match. Meeting people from around the country of different ranks, roles and backgrounds was one of the highlights for me. Working as a Christian police officer in relative isolation can be a challenge, but to share experiences, encourage one another, and pray together over a piece of steak and BBQ ribs was wonderful!
I took my guitar along to the conference in the hope I might be able to play at some point. I soon learnt that Tash Evans, who works down the corridor from me at Hatfield, had brought her electric guitar; there was a superb keyboard player from Northern Ireland and a bass player from Scotland! We formed an impromptu band in the bar lounge and had a couple of hours of “Pub Church”. We took requests for Christian and mainstream songs and had a time of sharing, where people gave some incredible accounts of how God was working in difficult situations.
After the success of “Pub Church” we were asked to lead some worship on Sunday morning. We were joined by a drummer, who suddenly appeared and we had a full band. It was all came together beautifully and the atmosphere was buzzing with worship! This was followed by a time of testimony where CPA members talked about the work of their branches and how perseverance and prayer had made a difference in opening opportunities to share the gospel in different ways with colleagues, and others outside the organisation. As well as being reminded of God’s faithfulness, it was useful to get ideas from other branches for raising the profile of the CPA in our own force and engaging with people.
Throughout the weekend Keith and I had the opportunity to talk to Debbie and Mandy from the Bedfordshire branch. As neighbouring and collaborated forces we have a lot in common and Keith has been supporting them for the last year through a time of change, and loss of leadership. By the end of the weekend, Debbie and Mandy were so inspired they were talking of taking on the leadership of the branch! Please pray for them as they take this step forward and we will continue to support them.
There was so much that happened it is difficult to say everything without writing a small novel. Needless to say, it was a brilliant weekend and I urge you to book it into your diary for next year – it is likely to be the first May bank holiday week and will be held in sunny/rainy Wales. Booking forms will appear later in the year, so don’t delete the email when it lands in your overcrowded inbox.
Keith and I are also planning to have an Eastern Region conference in February. (Details to follow).
In the meantime, stay safe and God bless.
Deputy Branch Leader
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. 12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.18 the blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. 19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. 20 But the wicked will perish: though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed; they will go up in smoke. 21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; 22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. 23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land for ever. 28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. 31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. 32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; 33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. 34 Hope in the Lord; and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, 36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. 37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. 38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future[e] for the wicked. 39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.