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February 12, 2012


Rowena Wilding

Thanks Andy, for giving voice to some important questions. I'm interested by what you say about telling the stories of "my church", and wonder how that pertains to the possibility of re imagining the Declaration of Principle. I think something we're very good at as Baptists is affirming our churches as individuals; saying what it is about "my church" that is important and unique and special. We do independence very well. But it strikes me that something we're not as good at is affirming other churches, and perhaps working out what our relationship with them is. I think an emphasis on interdependence is something that is missing from our DoP that is an important and oft ignored part of our Baptist DNA. I wonder how we can begin telling stories about inter-church relationships and support too?

Andy Goodliff

Rowena, absolutely got to go beyond local, by 'my' I guess I meant Baptist, but in all its forms, which I think is what Sian offers ... it was the BWA response to a Common Word that she refers to, not a local church, or even a BUGB response ...


Andy, I think that one of the problems with the discussion so far as that we are getting too caught up in the little things and missing the bigger picture. We might be in danger of theorising things too much.
I think that Rowena you are right. We need to begin much more to tell the stories of interdependence. When we do that it needs to be stories from ordinary people in ordinary churches. Scholarly thinking is really good, but too often it misses the voice of the member of the local church. We are in danger of doing just that. Perhaps that is why some people choose not to engage with the BU?

ian tutton

...or it might be that the BU chooses not to engage with 'ordinary members', even 'ordinary ministers'...when Council meets, how is its deliberations shared with the wider Baptist family? How is its agenda able to be shaped by concerns that arise from the 'ordinary'?...I still wait to be informed concerning the timetable for submitting public resolutions to this year's Assembly; interestingly the published programme does not even refer to 'public resolutions'...BUGB is a Union of Associations, Churches (Congregations), Colleges...but appears to act as if it is at least semi-deatched from the 'ordinary' if not totally detatched...


I think the BU does engage with ordinary members and ordinary ministers but we need to make the possibilities for doing so greater..... how I don't know.....!

ian tutton

@clairenfish...how do they?

Andy Goodliff

The Union is not something other than the churches and associations that make it up ... these are questions Ian you should be putting to the LBA

ian tutton

Andy...I don't think so, necessarily...the Union through Assembly and Council is the forum for debate/discussion within the wider Baptist family and as such should take the initiative in finding ways of involving that wider family in its deliberations...it could be argued that the disconnect is at Association level in that Association Reps to Council, at least in the LBA make no attempt to include constituent churches and ministers either in 'before' council consultation or 'after' council report...but the Union could publish on a secure, password protected facility, details of upcoming Council agendae and also minutes of previous Council meetings. Anyway, whatever, to my mind there is an essential disconnect that exists between 'top' and 'middle' and us at the bottom...especially ministers; a disconnect that has been exacerbated by the (necessary) creation of Trustees - elected by whom? - accountable to whom? - influenced by whom? - who are they??

Andy Goodliff

Ian, Trustees are elected by Council, and accountable to Council ... I do have to say this persistent looking for the negative gets you nowhere ... you have the voice to call the LBA to share and consult more, you have the voice to call the 'Union' to account through Assembly ...

ian tutton

Andy, sorry for sounding negative: how does one call the Union to account through Assembly given the structure of Assembly...do you really think that it how the 'Union' imagines Assembly to function? You are right; I could (and should) call on the LBA to share and consult more, but in the end life can appear too short and there are always other and better things to do, which of course is what many ministers are discovering and it is precisely for that reason that perceived disconnects take on an importance far beyond what might otherwise have been...anyway I shall take to heart your implied criticism and seek to be more positive...although I did think my suggestion re publication of agendae/minutes of Council meetings was positive...


To much - its all to hard - theory - practice - dreams - reality?

NO - it is about living our lives to bring the Good news to folk.

Let us all work together as we are called - let those that are visonaries have space and time - let others have the freedom to help those churches that are crying out for help.

What kind of ministers?

Called (with whatever labels are deemed to be appropriate) Ministers / Ministers leading churches that are so in need of leadership but are struggling to manage that basic need - while the deliberations continue please let us not "take our eyes off the ball" of TODAYS needs ?

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