If we are not to exclude believing children in our fellowship we thus need to think in a more open way about what 'membership' means. Believing children are already members of the body of Christ, but they have not yet covenanted with other members ... They are members of the body, but not yet commissioned ... Before this, children do not have a vote in church meeting, but they do have voices to which we need to listen as we think about the meaning of the life and the mission of the church. As members of the body of Christ, they supply some of the limbs through which Christ will become visible. The face of Christ will have empty patches if the features they supply are missing ... Christ wants to show himself to us through them, not through 'child-preachers' but through their simply being children.
(Paul Fiddes, Tracks and Traces: Baptist Identity in Church and Theology, 2003, 139)
One of the Five Core Values of the Baptist Union is being 'an inclusive community': 'our lives together will transcend barriers of gender, language, race, class, age and culture creating communities which welcome and accept those on the margins of life and learn from them.'
'... we cannot be a whole community unless children play a full part, nor can children develop in their discipleship unless they participate and belong in a meaningful way to a community of people of all ages committed to one another on the pilgrim journey'
(Anne Dunkley, Seen and Heard: Reflections on children and Baptist tradition, The Whitley Lecture 1999-2000, 1999, 33)