It’s not every day that you get to attend an event at the Scottish Parliament! That’s exactly what happened on Wednesday 2nd October when around 75 current and former Staff and Trustees of the Baptist Union of Scotland gathered together along with denomination guests and some MSPs to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Baptist Union of Scotland.The event was sponsored by Jeremy Balfour an MSP and a well-known face to many within our family of churches. Bill Slack spoke about his time as General Director, highlighting the era of Challenge to Change and also thanking staff, across the years, for their commitment to and work for our union of churches. Alan Donaldson introduce the 150th Anniversary Prayer Baton and the travels it has undertaken in this special year for us. Jeremy Balfour signed the commemorative document as an MSP. Martin Hodson also spoke about the future direction of our union, the desire for transformation and innovation at the same time as holding fast to our convictions and identity. It was lovely to see many familiar faces again and it was a great privilege to highlight the work and witness of our union of churches within the national sphere.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In my spare time, I am a drummer and percussionist. I love rhythm – I feel the beat. Recently, I have been thinking about the rhythms of life in this fast-paced, often frenetic world we live in. Life in the BUS office has been very busy over the last few months as we have been gearing up and preparing for our extra special 150th Anniversary Assembly and we are really looking forward to this culmination of a year of celebration and thanksgiving. I think we are also looking forward to a moment of pause afterwards, to catch our breath! I have been thinking about Jesus’s ministry and teaching and the rhythms He put in place for His disciples. Mark 6:30-31 says, ‘The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’’ (NIVUK)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There is a rhythm of ministry and giving out, and also a rhythm of rest. Both are important; both are necessary. Too much of a weighting to either one equals an imbalance. God has made life in creation a rhythm – fast and slow; life and death; time and tide; breathing in and out. So, what rhythm do you find yourself in at the moment? Do you thrive on fast-paced work and ministry or are you a steady ‘plodder for Jesus’? Are you in a period of pouring yourself out for others and the kingdom or are you at a place where Jesus tenderly takes your hand and says ‘come away by yourself and rest’? Whatever rhythm or season you find yourself in just now, know that Jesus is right there with you. Jenny Wilson Connect Editor[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
On 31 August, members of the churches of the Southwest Baptist Churches Network gathered at Milestone Christian Fellowship in Girvan to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Baptist Union of Scotland with praise, prayer – and a barbeque! The church was filled to capacity with representatives from each of the churches, and before too long stomachs were filled to capacity, too! After that it was a joy to join in a time of praise, worshipping the Lord and giving thanks for his goodness and faithfulness through the 150 years of the Baptist Union of Scotland’s history. Alan Donaldson, in his last official engagement as General Director of our Union, led the congregation in a reflection on the anniversary year’s theme, “Give Me Also Springs of Water”. The congregation spent time praying – giving thanks and praying for our churches and our Union, seeking living water for ourselves, but also seeking to well up with springs of water for the refreshing of those who are not part of our Baptist family. Niall Balmer, of Stranraer Baptist Church, signed the prayer baton on behalf of the churches of the Southwest Baptist Churches Network – and we look forward to the blessings, challenges and service that, by God’s grace, lie ahead!
[vc_row content_placement="middle"][vc_column][vc_column_text]We were privileged to host the Council of the European Baptist Federation in Scotland at the end of September. The 166 delegates from across Europe and the Middle East met in the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld from 25-28th September. The opening night saw delegates come together for worship led by a team from Kirkintilloch Baptist Church, Martin Hodson, General Director of the Baptist Union of Scotland welcomed delegates to Scotland and EBF President, Rev Jenni Entrican gave the opening address. One of the main themes of the conference was the issue of religious freedom. There was also a discussion on the issue of environmental issues and how we as Baptists have a role to play in care of God’s creation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement="middle"][vc_column][vc_column_text]In his address EBF General Secretary, Rev Tony Peck, highlighted the uncertainty of the times we live in, noting that ‘in Europe the two words that seem to be most about us at this time are ‘polarisation’; and ‘fragmentation’ to describe the political landscape and our societies.’ Tony spoke about the hope we have in Jesus, the tension between the now and the not yet and the good news we have to share with a fragmented Europe. Tony called for a renewed emphasis on life-long discipleship; a renewed willingness to be risk-takers for the sake of the Gospel; to renew our concern for both neighbour and stranger; a commitment to peace and reconciliation; a concern for the environment and also to have a renewed confidence and hope in God.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement="middle"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Rev Dr Elijah Brown, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance was in attendance at the Council and spoke on the importance of religious freedom. We were also delighted to be able to hold a lunch meeting at Newton Mearns Baptist Church, so that Elijah could meet some of the Baptist ministers within BUS and chat to them about the topic of religious freedom, a topic close to Elijah’s heart.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Following the induction of their new pastor, Rev Martin Donaghey, on Saturday evening, friends from Kirkwall and Stromness churches joined the Westray congregation after their Sunday morning service for a picnic at Noltland Castle. With the prayer baton being passed around, the lively group of about 130 folks made their way on foot in beautiful sunshine to the Castle, the first meeting place for Baptists in Orkney over 200 years ago. This was Orkney’s celebration of 150 years of the Baptist Union. After food all enjoyed an informal time of fellowship. The children were given a ‘Time Travellers Guide’ to the church from Jerusalem to Westray and beyond by Rev Tim Proudlove from Kirkwall Baptist Church. This involved much hilarity, spinning around and some very active imaginations as he brought them up to present day and beyond. While the adults continued in praise the children were involved in activities around the castle. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ali Laing brought greetings from the Baptist Union and members of the three congregations led prayers for Orkney. The scroll from the baton was then signed by representatives of the three churches and a very enjoyable weekend ended with tea in the Westray Church before visitors caught the evening ferry back to Mainland, Orkney.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On Sunday 1st of September, over 120 folks gathered at Alness Baptist Church, to celebrate their 40th Anniversary. Attendees, past members, past ministers, as well as local dignitaries gathered to give thanks for the faithful Gospel witness and work of the fellowship over the last 40 years. Alness Baptist was founded in 1979 as a church plant initiative of the Baptist Union of Scotland. This charge was taken up by Rev. Bill Clark (1975-1986) and was continued on by the Revs. Bill Murdock (1988-2000) and Ian MacInnes (2002-15). Pastor Rev. Robert Adair took over the pastorate in 2016. With the support and commitment of the Church members, we have sought to become and continue to seek, to be an integral part of the fabric of the Alness Community and share the hope of the Gospel. The service was led by Pastor Robert Adair and the anniversary message was given by Rev. Bill MacDonald (Regional Pastor of BUS). A fellowship lunch was held after the service where an anniversary cake was cut.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="20px"][vc_separator el_width="70"][vc_column_text]Highland Churches Gather Together On the 29th of September, the local Baptist churches of the Highlands gathered at Alness Baptist Church, for a time of worship, prayer and fellowship. We gave thanks to God for 150 years of the Baptist Union of Scotland and we also celebrated the 40th anniversary of Alness Baptist Church, which was a church plant out of the Union. We were pleased to celebrate and give thanks to God for the Baptism of two members of Dingwall Baptist.Rev. Daniel Pollin (BUS Council and Pastor of Coastline Community Church, Pittenweem) brought God's word to us. An encouraging time was had by all.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]