Baptists Together during the pandemic
The next Baptist Union Council takes place on 13-14 October, and there will be space to hear, reflect and celebrate how Baptists have responded in the pandemic. Do you have a story to share?
New Council moderator Seidel Abel Boanerges explains more
Dear Baptist Family,
I’m Seidel Abel Boanerges* and I am the new moderator of the Baptist Union Council. The Council meets twice per year to discern the broad strategic direction of our Union. Subsequently facilitating the implementation of this direction is the task of the Core Leadership Team (CLT).
In addition, the Council oversees the work of the Ministerial Recognition Committee, which administers the accreditation of Baptist ministers and church workers and the national recognition of preachers, pastors and pioneers. The Council also elects the Trustees and Treasurer of the Union. It has around 80 members, mostly drawn from our churches, colleges, co-opted members along with the trustees, CLT, Association and Specialist Teams and wider Baptist and ecumenical representatives. A list of Council members can be found here. Also, you can read a summary of the last Council (March 2021) here.
My role as the moderator is to ensure that Council works strategically to fulfil our vision as a movement Growing healthy Churches in relationship for God’s mission. As Baptists Together, we are committed to intentionally developing a culture where we seek to be a movement of spirit-led communities; feel like one team; embrace adventure; inspire others, and share a hunger for God’s coming Kingdom.
So, in the light of our vision and values, my role is to facilitate the Council discussions as we meet,listen and pray together to discern the mind of Christ.
I also have a responsibility to ensure that every voice is heard at the Council and that the diversity of theology, practice and opinion of the bodies of our Union is considered, respected and discerned through the Council’s decision-making processes.
At the same time, I want Council to continue to be a place where we celebrate our stories of what God is doing in the midst of our local churches and communities and encourage one another. My long-term objective for the Council is that many across Baptists Together will shape the Council agenda and contribute to the discussions to ensure that we are committed to fulfilling our vision.
Currently, we are planning the Council agenda for next month (13-14 October 2021). One of the items for sharing and reflection is ‘Baptists Together during the Pandemic’. The last 18 months have been a difficult journey for all of us. We have wrestled with uncertainty, anxiety, suffering, death, chaos, disruption etc.
However, I have been constantly encouraged by the stories from our Baptist family on how our churches and colleges impacted their local communities during the pandemic. Some churches became centres for vaccination, PCR and lateral flow testing, centres for mental and emotional support, food banks, community fridges and groceries, space for the homeless and many more.
(Pictured is Shelley Dring, the Children and Families worker at Moortown Baptist Church in Leeds, who organised a drive through drop off point for the 2020 Harvest Festival to support the local Foodbank).
Our faith in Christ Jesus which gives us hope in the midst of fear, suffering and anxiety, was shared widely, and many got saved even through the pandemic. Praise God that the Baptist branch of Christianity is significantly impacting their local communities.
At the next Council, we have created space to listen, reflect and celebrate such stories. We want to offer back to our churches some sense of discernment about what we sense God is saying to us,having listened widely. Therefore, if you have a story, please send it (article/audio/video) to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively post it on social media with the hashtag #BaptistsDuringThePandemic. It does not need to be a long story; a sentence or two would be great to get an idea of your response.
Also, we will be posting some short video testimonies on our social media, so do watch out for them, and please share them. After the Council, a summary will be available for churches, colleges, associations to email/print in their newsletters.
The Revd Seidel Abel Boanerges is the newly appointed Dean of Ministerial Formation and Development at Spurgeon’s College, London. He is also the Tutor in Christian Mission and Theology, where he teaches practical theology such as evangelism, apologetics, worship and preaching etc.