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Baptist Union Council: March 2020 

Council Mar2020

The outbreak of the Coronavirus meant that our meeting of the Baptist Union Council from Tuesday 17 – Wednesday 18 March 2020 was cancelled. The decision was not taken lightly in the week before the meeting, but the announcement by the Government on Monday 16 March and the first implementation of lockdown proved that it had been a wise one.

Council members were invited to participate in a Survey Monkey for the items that were on the Agenda for discussion and discernment at Council, with the outcomes being as follows:
1          New member churches, churches ceasing membership of BUGB and church closures
1.1       The following churches have joined our Baptist Union:
                        Grace Community Church (CBA)
                        Stoke Gabriel Baptist Church (SWeBA)
1.2       The following churches have ceased membership of BUGB:
                        Inskip Baptist Church (NWBA)
                        Horeb Baptist Church (Pembrokeshie [English Wing])
                        Forefront  Church (CBA)
                        Durrington Community Centre LEP (SEBA – church continuing as Methodist only)
1.3       The following churches have closed:
                        Little Lane Church (YBA)
                        Eastcote Baptist Church (CBA)
                        Hope Baptist Church, Caerau (SWaBA)
                        Prickwillow Baptist Church (EBA)
                        Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel (YBA)
                        Hanbury Road Baptist Church (Gwent)

2          Dual Operating
In the 2012 Futures process Council created the Baptist Steering Group (BSG) from among its number as a key vehicle for implementing the broad strategic direction discerned by Council. Having worked with the BSG model for a number of years various significant issues have emerged:

  1. The Regional Minister Team Leaders (RMTLs) who were not serving on BSG felt disempowered.
  2. Regional Partnerships never became fully and formally embedded in our organisational culture. This was recognised by Council in November 2018.
  3. The conflicts of interest and conflicts of loyalties inherent with the BSG making governance related decisions, especially with regard to finances.

As a result, Council asked BUGB Trustees to review the BSG in the light of these issues in November 2018. The BUGB Trustees were asked to do this because our Constitution tasks Trustees with appointing the BSG. Trustees reflected together and consulted with the BSG and All Team Leaders and Moderators. Following this, Trustees proposed the dual-operating model as a way forward and this was shared with Council in November 2019 and the proposed approach was agreed in principle. Council also asked for time for further reflection before implementation began.  With this in mind, it was agreed to revisit the dual-operating approach at Council in March 2020. 
            Through the Survey Monkey Council have now affirmed:
2.1       That we will embrace the dual-operating approach across Baptists Together and that we will implement, experiment and review as we move forward.
2.2       That we embrace the dual-operating mind-set.  In doing so we recognise that living as movement will release the potential of Baptists Together but that it will often do so in chaotic and inefficient ways.  In the same way we recognise that living as charitable organisations enables us to implement action effectively but also impinges on our autonomy (in real or perceived ways) at times.
2.3       The appointment of a collaborative Core Leadership Team to include:

  • RMTLs (13)
  • College Principals (5)
  • Specialist Team Leaders (4)
  • Moderator of Council / alternate (1)
  • Moderator of the BUGB Trustee Board / alternate (1)
  • President (1)
  • General Secretary (1)
  • Treasurer (1)
  • 1 leader from each of the Current Priority Areas (5)
  • An Accompanier (1)

2.4       That we engage appropriate training to enable us to learn and use the principles of advice seeking more effectively.

3          BUGB Trustee Board
            3.1       BUGB CIO - Resolutions to the Assembly
3.1.1    Council was asked to propose the following resolution to the Assembly:
That the Constitution of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (registered charity number 1125912) be abrogated in its entirety and replaced with a Constitution in the form presented subject to any consent or amendments required by the Charity Commission. The Constitution can be read or downloaded at www.baptist.org.uk/cioconsult.
3.1.2    Council was also asked to propose two further administrative resolutions to the Assembly as part of the usual agenda for BUGB CIO:

  • that Mr John Levick be reappointed Treasurer of the Baptist Union of Great Britain for the year to Assembly 2021; and
  • that Mr Alastair-Mitchell Baker be reappointed Moderator of the Baptist Union of Great Britain for the year to Assembly 2021.

These were all overwhelmingly agreed.

3.2       Defining Baptist identity and church property trusts
Council members were invited to offer suggestions of persons with whom they should consult or anyone who would have a positive contribution to add.  A number of suggestions were made.

4          Key Roles Nominations Team
4.1       New Trustees
              Mrs Suzie Leveson and the Rev Shayla Merivale were approved as new BUGB Trustees.
4.2       Moderator of Council
              The Revd Seidel Abel Boanerges was approved as the next Moderator of Council, from 1 September 2021.
30 April 2020

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