We live in interesting times! A friend and I were recently in conversation about the opportunities for sharing about Jesus, particularly in the context of the issues currently under discussion in our wider community.
Jesus is still on the throne!
By the time you read this, depending on the outcome of the High Court, it may be confirmed whether we will be having a postal vote on same sex marriage, beginning in September. Whether or not this goes ahead, we find ourselves as a society in a process of deciding whether to redefine marriage. We are aware of the complexity of this issue, including beyond marriage itself to potential impacts on freedom of faith expression. Our pastors and churches have received a statement from myself on this issue and how we might engage with it. I encourage everyone to participate in any opportunity to vote and have your voice heard, and to be prayerful.
Of course, other significant issues are also current. It is expected that in mid September the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will be introduced into the NSW Upper House (churches are being sent information about this in my Pastor’s & Leaders Enews). We watch increasing international political tensions and wonder where it is all heading. We continue to be aware of natural disasters and famine in different parts of the world that impact huge numbers of people, and seek to understand how best to respond. In all this a wonderful reality persists: Jesus is still on the throne! He still calls us to bear witness to that reality, and the life and hope that can be found in Him alone.
Gathering to Celebrate and Discern together – Assembly Saturday 16th September We come together as an Association of Churches at Narwee Baptist Church on Saturday 16th of September to celebrate Jesus and discern his will for us. A particular focus of this Assembly is PRAYER. Prayer is the first of our “Big Six” Strategic Priorities. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to experience our 150 Year Anniversary as an Association in 2018 as a year of focused prayer for revival and renewal across our churches and throughout NSW & ACT! We will workshop and discern together about how the priority of prayer can be further lifted up in our movement at this strategic time. And we will pray! We will also begin a discussion about what it means to be an Affiliated Church of the Association. Over recent years we have seen a refreshing of our Vision as a movement, and a sense of growing momentum towards that future. As this continues to develop, it is appropriate for us to sharpen our common understanding of the meaning and value of being an affiliated church, and consider how this may be enhanced. Thinking through how we promote healthy engagement of churches with each other and the Association life overall is also important. Further, the world we live in continues to change and demand new responses from us. For these reasons, at this Assembly we will begin to workshop together our vision for what it means to affiliate, and how we might best live this out in the future. It is an exciting topic and I look forward to engaging it at this Assembly and beyond.
Assembly day will also include our 2017 Accreditation Service after lunch, where persons will be set aside for ministry in our movement. Look on the Association website under “Get Involved” (at the top of the homepage) for all the details of the day. I encourage you to be part of it!
Newsflash – new direction for Revive Gathering as we celebrate 150 years in 2018!
In 1868 a small number of Baptist churches in NSW agreed to form our Baptist Association. That means next year is our 150th birthday! Some exciting ways of celebrating this are being planned, but here’s the big one: Celebrate150 will be the major gathering of our movement in 2018! Incorporating our Annual Assembly on a Thursday night (dinner included!), a day of equipping and networking on Friday and a HUGE night of inspiration and celebration on the Friday evening, this will be an event not to be missed! Celebrate150 will run in place of Revive next year, and we look forward to building on it as we continue to reimagine our major gatherings into the future. More details coming soon!