The Baptist Assembly 2018
A brief round-up of what's happening at this year's Baptist Assembly in Peterborough
Want to share in stories and lessons that help grow healthy churches? Take part in eye-opening science experiments with our incoming President? Or simply gather alongside other Baptists for a day of worship, celebration and prayer?
Whatever your reason for coming to this year’s Baptist Assembly, a Gospel-agenda awaits which encompasses mission, justice, fellowship and a good dollop of family fun.
Several hundred people have already registered for the event on 12 May, which returns to the Kingsgate Conference Centre in Peterborough, the venue in 2015.
They will see the induction of our new President the Revd Dr Dave Gregory, minister of Croxley Green Baptist Church Rickmansworth. Dave, one-time research meteorologist at the Met Office, wants to help us discover how God might be encountered through the divine window of science, which might in turn inspire us to share in God’s life and mission.
It’s a message for everyone. ‘No knowledge of science is assumed or needed!’, he says. ‘Just a little bit of imagination and wonder.’
Alongside this Presidential theme, organisers are excited to share that Dave will lead an interactive Messy Church Does Science workshop. Dave has pioneered the use of science-based experiments that speak of aspects of the Christian faith, and edited the 2017 book Messy Church Does Science - 100 science-based ideas. He amazed visitors to the Christian Resources Exhibition in October, and hopes to give Assembly delegates plenty of ideas to take back to their churches.
This will be the first Baptist Assembly for Dr Kang-San Tan since becoming General Director at BMS World Mission. Kang-San will lead a session with his wife Loun exploring non-Western theologians.
‘In a world of unequal access to voice and power,’ he explains, ‘choosing to learn from Southern and Northern, poorer and richer as well as female and male, is the beginning of a richer spirituality.’
As usual, ministers and mission personnel will be recognised, and Kang-San will lead the commissioning address.
Sharing stories and lessons to help grow healthy churches together is the focus of a session from Ken Benjamin and Paul Lavender, leaders of two of the larger churches in our Union. This practical seminar looks at some of the steps needed to help transition our churches into more mission-focused ways.
Worship has a multicultural flavour. It will be led by the worship team at Greenford Baptist Church, who have pioneered multicultural worship and were key contributors to the Pentecost People resource which launched at last year’s Assembly. For those wanting to explore further, GBC worship leader Andy Robertson leads a session exploring the importance of developing corporate worship that includes music and artistic expression from across the world.
There is a full programme for children (reception to Year 6) and youth (Years 7-9).
Teaching, worship, craft, and drama are just some of the activities planned for the children, coordinated by the team from I Sing Pop. ‘We’ll be looking at Noah, listening to God, God’s rescue plan for us, and doing what God has asked us to do,’ they explain.
Jo McMillan (pictured), youth worker at Greenford Baptist Church, is leading the youth programme alongside her team. She too is excited about the day.
‘We'll have fun sessions including worship, music, Bible discussions, games, films, arts and crafts plus sport,’ she says. ‘We'll be discussing what worship is, why it's important, and we'll be exploring the links between worship and youth culture.’
Tickets for both children and young people are free.
As usual, the Baptist Assembly will host the AGM for the Baptist Union of Great Britain. We will vote on changing the legal status of our Union (full details of the CIO process can be found here). BMS World Mission will also lead a session.
The day will close with a celebration where there will be prayer for ourselves and our churches in mission, as well as an address from General Secretary Lynn Green.