Dr Geoff Blackburn was one of the Australian delegates at the 2010 Baptist World Congress in Hawaii. Now 95 years of age, he said of this remarkable story, that in those days, travelling by ship was the norm.
Therefore to engage in the 1950 Baptist World Congress in London, and only five years after the conclusion of WWII, Australian and New Zealand Baptists put their heads together to find a way to attend.
They came up with hiring a ship and so it was. The ship embarked the Australian Baptists delegates first in Melbourne and then Sydney, and then headed to Auckland where the New Zealand contingent alighted. There were 400 Baptists in all.
When the antipodean delegates arrived with such a contingent at the London Baptist World Congress, they were met with both welcoming arms and some astonishment that so many had made the journey 'back home', as England was then nostalgically referred to with something of a passion.
Geoff Blackburn said that the 1950 Baptist World Congress was the most memorable and remarkable conference he has attended, largely because of the six week journey to and from London where friendships were formed for a life time.
Geoff Blackburn is noted for a number of things in Baptist life. He was the Minister at Sindall Baptist Church in Melbourne from 1972-86 which was a period of significant Baptist growth and from 1975-80 he served as the Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance.
His duties as the Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance was the south west Pacific in which he travelled extensively and pastored the leadership.
Geoff Blackburn has been to every Baptist World Congress since 1970
1970 – Tokoyo, Japan
1975 – Stockholm, Sweeden
1980 - Toronto, Canada
1985 - Los Angeles, USA
1990 - Seoul, Kroea
1995 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
2000 - Melbourne, Australia
2005 - Birmingham, England
2010 - Hawaii, USA
The 2015 Baptist World Congress is scheduled for Durban, South Africa.
Although a spritely 95, Geoff Blackburn still serves the Lord in the Pastoral Care Ministry of Scotts Church in Melbourne.
What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas 2010 – the final of this series of interviews from the Baptist World Congress – with a godly man like Simeon of old who has seen 'many times' the Salvation of the Lord as individuals gave their lives to Christ.