Connection and conversation – the Baptist Assembly 2022
Registrations are now open for this year’s Baptist Assembly, which is both our first in-person gathering in three years and our first ever hybrid event
The Baptist Assembly, the annual gathering organised jointly by Baptists Together and BMS World Mission, is taking place this year at the Bournemouth International Centre from Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 May 2022. Key sessions will be broadcast live on YouTube – including the Sunday morning service, to which all Baptist churches are invited to stream.
The focus of Assembly 2022 is on Baptists connecting well with each other and hearing what God is saying to us as a movement. A bee and a hive are part of this year’s Baptist Assembly imagery as a helpful metaphor of our connectedness as Baptists Together.*
As we gather again to worship God and to seek his will for our life and witness together, we hope and pray that Baptists can:
connect with each other; offering encouragement, support and inspiration
give thanks to God, express the unity and affirm the identity of the Baptist community, and discern the mind of Christ together
commission and pray for God’s blessing on those who undertake recognised roles and ministries
express our ongoing commitment to God's mission across the world.
While there is much that is familiar, this year’s gathering has an emphasis on connection and conversation; on speaking and listening well to each other. With that in mind, there will be many creative connecting and conversation spaces throughout.
On Saturday afternoon we will be introducing conversation starters powered by “Pecha Kucha” – this is an engaging, visual format where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each. A series of presentations will be brought by a wide selection of representatives from across the Baptist community all answering the question: "What is the conversation you would like the Baptist family to have together over the coming year?"
As they are designed to be conversation starters, rooms will then be open for you to unpick and continue that conversation. The topics are based around our priorities, and we hope there will be much here for you to relay back and have a conversation in your church.
On Saturday evening there will be a panel drawn from people representing different areas of Baptist life who will discuss issues and topics raised throughout the gathering. One of the panellists is the Revd Hayley Young, who will have been inducted that morning as our new President and introduce her theme “Building a Bigger Table”.
There will also be a Networking Zone, which brings together formal and informal networks across Baptists Together. You will be able to gather ideas and resources for yourself and church, and hear more about missional and justice initiatives running across our Union. Could your organisation or group benefit from being part of the Networking Zone? Find out more here.
A number of missional listeners will be invited to share what they’ve heard to help us reflect and discern what God is saying.
Friday 13 May is an integral part of our time together at Baptist Assembly 2022 and we expect many people to be arriving in Bournemouth ready to meet with old friends and new. While we won’t be meeting in the venue on Friday evening, we want to encourage people to take the opportunity to connect and will provide space to do this. More details will be available closer to the time, but we encourage you to reach out yourself to other Baptists to connect and make conversation.
Many elements of this year’s event are familiar: there will be the Baptist Union of Great Britain AGM and a BMS World Mission presentation on Saturday morning. Saturday evening will feature the commissioning of ministers, pastors, preachers and BMS World Mission personnel. The In Memoriam to remember those who have died in the last year takes place on Sunday morning.
The Revd Alan Donaldson, the European Baptist Federation (EBF) General Secretary, is our Sunday morning preacher.
From 2010 to 2019 Alan served as General Director of the Baptist Union of Scotland, a period in which he was an active member of the Baptist Union Council, BMS Council and the Family Solution Team. Recently Alan added to his existing theology degree an MTh in Applied Theology from Spurgeon’s College. He was appointed to his EBF role last year.
The Sunday worship on 15 May will be broadcast live, allowing us to worship, pray, read scripture and listen to Alan’s word together as a whole Baptist family across the country. Baptist churches are encouraged to stream the worship service live as part of your own Sunday morning gathering. Last year more than 5,500 different devices tuned in, making it the largest ever online gathering of UK Baptists.
There is a full programme for children and young people right up to Year 13.
General Secretary Lynn Green said, ‘We are so looking forward to being back together! The Baptist Assembly is a time where we gather to worship God and to seek his will for our life and witness. After such a difficult last couple of years, we want to create spaces where we can reconnect, support and inspire each other while being attentive to God.
‘We are a movement of churches, associations, colleges and specialist teams, and this is a great opportunity to connect and be part of an ongoing conversation that will feed into different parts of our life together.
‘This year’s Baptist Assembly has itself been birthed out of lots of conversations. In connecting with each other, we hope it can be part of a bigger conversation that will shape and direct our mission and discipleship.’
* A bee and a hive are part of this year’s Baptist Assembly imagery as a helpful metaphor of our connectedness as Baptists Together. Each of the cells in a hive are connected and dependent on the broader structure.
Surviving and thriving takes the combined efforts of the entire colony, with each bee having a specific role.
Beyond the hive, bees play a vital role in the wider environment: the bee pollinates plants and connects all living things.
Bees and honey are frequently mentioned in the Bible. The word honey features more than 60 times, often used in the context of blessing, abundance and purity.
'The Creator may be seen in all the works of his hands; but in few more directly than in the wise economy of the Honey-Bee.' The Revd Lorenzo L. Langstroth, The Hive and the Honey Bee, 1853.
(Langstroth’s discovery of bee-space and invention of the movable frame hive in Philadelphia would revolutionise the beekeeping industry, and earn him the title, “Father of American Beekeeping.”)