Women and Ministry Day

The Baptist Union of Great Britain has as a declared element of its overall strategy the aim of increasing the number of women ministers who serve our churches.  This won’t happen without some major readjustment of attitudes and allocation of resources. Northern Baptist College (where I teach) has long been committed to encouraging and enabling women who wish to enter Baptist ministry, but in the last 2-3 years we have found that the number of women who even get as far as applying to College has been falling.

To this end we are hosting an event for women who want to explore the nature of God’s call upon their lives.  Entitled "Leading Women: Exploring Women’s Ministries" it is aimed at women in Baptist churches who want to find out more about the opportunities that are available to them in ministries both ordained and lay and the possible training routes that the College provides.  The event will be held on November 15th 2008 from 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. at Luther King House, and a creche will be provide for children under 5.

For those who can, we ask you to publicize this event as widely as possible.

Baptist Assembly 2007

I arrived back from this year’s Assembly on Monday afternoon this week, only to instantly feel generally out of sorts (temperature, aching, fluey type things) and so go to bed for most of Tuesday and some of yesterday.  I am finally out of the woods, though and in the meantime others have been blogging on the Assembly at Brighton this year.  See the comments of Catriona (here and here, Andy here and here and Simon here).  I don’t have much to add, save to say that I was generally happy with my sessions (the 2nd Bible study felt flatter than the 1st go, but people still seemed to appreciate it) and I have been grateful for the kind feedback.  Clearly, the presentation of the constitutional changes at the AGM on Sunday were the highlight!

I often moan about Assembly.  I still think that there are deep problems the overall format and focus and especially with the evening sessions.  But there are always two moments in the programme where I find myself unfolding my arms, and removing my quizzical, slightly sceptical look.  One is at the moment of recognition of ministers (despite the unseemly whooping and cheering).  The other is the In Memoriam for ministers and missionaries who have died in the past year (despite the ever so slightly overwrought ending).  At these moments, I always find myself thinking: these are the people I belong to, this is the church community that has shaped me, educated me, that accepts my ministry and that prays for me.  One day my name will be on that screen.  So in the end, I would rather be here, with these strange but wonderful Baptist people, than anywhere else in the family of God in these islands.

Baptist Assembly

I have received today the Programme Book for the Baptist Assembly along with my ‘Guest Speaker’ badge (we also get a special posh lanyard to indicate that we are so important that we don’t need to put a pin through our clothes).

Assembly will be a busy time, but as usual I am hoping that the best bits will occur outside of the main Programme, in the bars, coffee shops and curry houses of Brighton: not withstanding of course the following vital events in the main Assembly Programme:

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May: 9.15 am – 10.00 am, Arundel 2, Holiday Inn
Bible Study on Galatians 3.26-29
Please note that if you want to come to this and fear that there may not be room for everyone, you will need to book tickets for the Bible Studies from the Information Desk in advance.

Saturday 5th May: 4.00 – 5.00 pm: Hall B East, The Brighton Centre
More Light and Truth?: Biblical Interpretation in Covenantal Perspective

Sunday 6th May: 10.45 am – 12.30 pm: Main Hall
A Baptist People – United in Mission including the AGM of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, includingt he all important vote on alterations to the Constitution.

Clearly, these events are the highlights.  But mention must also go to the Prism strand within the Programme, headed up by Bromley Boy, Simon Jones and others.  I may well be heading to Prism from time to time myself.  It will also be good to meet up with former fellow students at Reunions (although the Bristol and Northern ones are always timetabled against each other – so apologies to all friends from Bristol days that I may not get to see).

Baptist Union Council

I have just returned from the March meetings of the Baptist Union Council.  It was a good event, overall, with a nice spirit and plenty of opportunity for the usual interaction and meeting friends.  Significant decisions included those to enable churches of the Independent Methodist Connexion to form a non-geographical Association within the BUGB; approval of new drafts of ministerial recognition rules and guidelines relating to the notion of qualifying office; consideration of a strategy for the Union; provision of a possible Approved Governing Document to help churches who will need to become Registered Charities after April 2008, plus the usual stuff about budgets etc. Of particular interest was a presentation by the Younger Leaders’ Forum about their new resource Ctrl-Alt-DelAndy Goodliff has more details.