Learning from the past, embracing the future
Gale Richards, moderator of our Baptist Union's Racial Justice Group, reports on a Bicentenary event that helped young Christians explore their calling
The original idea for the event came from Dr Anthony Reddie (Tutor, Bristol Baptist College) but due to college commitments he was unable to follow through in the organising or facilitation of the event but was present for some of the night. I was the key Baptist Union organiser and was the main host of the event.
We worked in partnership with the Christian organisation Ascension Trust, which is well known for its initiatives such as Street Pastors, as well as its annual youth residential programme called ‘Urban Youth Mission.’
A group of about 40 people of Baptist and other denominations gathered at Highgate Baptist Church in Birmingham for the event, many of them aged 18-30. A number of them had travelled up from London for the event.
The aim was to provide an opportunity for Christian young adults aged 18-30, to meet with and learn from Christian leaders in a range of fields.
It was an opportunity for young adults to learn from those who have gone ahead, and to embrace the possibilities of the journey before them.
Lynn Green (Baptist Union General Secretary) and Karl Henlin (former President of the Jamaica Baptist Union) encouraged the young adults to learn from the Bicentenary story that is being celebrated this year, as they considered how God might be calling them now to be leaders.
This was followed by four 5-minute presentations from guest speakers (Errol Lawson, Dr Cecilia Capell, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, and Selina Stone) who spoke on the impact that they have made in the fields of leadership development, education, theology, and politics and integration.
Their presentations enabled the young people to gain an understanding of: What the speaker has done in their field and why it is significant? What has been key to enabling the speaker advance in this field?
After each presentation there were facilitated Table Top conversations, amongst the 18-30 year olds present. These conversations enabled these young Christian adults to reflect on the speakers’ stories, in the light of their own experiences, dreams and ambitions.
Karl Henlin closed the evening with a rousing challenge for the young adults presents to take every opportunity to fulfil the call on their lives, as leaders of their generation.
He praised and prayed for young people like Jamiko Yapp and Christina Howell (pictured), who are currently taking part in BMS World Mission’s gap year ‘Action Team’ programme, as he felt that they would learn much from their six months overseas which would prepare them for better knowing and undertaking God’s plans for their lives.
Gale Richards is the Moderator of the Racial Justice Group of the Baptist Union