If you knew the gift of God ….. (John 4.10)

Forgive me. I am getting impatient. You see, I get wearied by people fretting over the future of the church. Yes, I see that there is decline in many places. Demographic change and social habits play their part. But, after all the books have been read and conferences attended on contextualisation, missional focus, fresh expressions and alternative ways of doing church, I’m left with a simple thought.

Are we all aware of how to release the power of and presence of heaven upon earth? Jesus taught his disciples about it. The early church knew what to do about it. Times of revival, throughout history, are punctuated and preceded by it. How do we do it?

It begins with repentance, turning from powerless religiosity to right relationship with God. Reading the Scriptures in a way that doesn’t just produce right doctrine but really leads us to Jesus and ushers us into the presence of our heavenly Father. It involves receiving and knowing the promise and power of the Holy Spirit, wherein that spring of living water is released within us (John 4.13), welling up to a river that flows out (John 7.38) to meet the thirst of others and bring irrigation and hope to the land we live in.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray with persistence for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That enabling presence that melts and moulds our hearts and lives into a deeper conformity to Jesus and the holiness, righteousness and justice that pleases God. This is formed in the lives of those who are taken hold of in the Holy Spirit’s power. The path is in Scripture and patently proven in the history of the church. Repentance, persistent prayer and longing for ongoing, powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit.

The future is good because it belongs to God. Revival will come among those who long for it and persistently seek God for it. I thank God for evidence of this already among us. I look with real expectancy for more springs of renewal and fires of revival to appear. Join in persistent prayer and let us see it happen among all of us, including with you in your church, all across our land.

Rev Dr Jim Purves

Mission and Ministry Advisor

Professor Andrew Clarke appointed CMD Lead

Professor Andrew Clarke has been appointed as a temporary (one-year) part-time post, agreed by the Baptist Union of Scotland Council, to ensure we maintain the momentum of Continuing Ministry Development (CMD). Andrew Clarke, from Garioch Church in Aberdeenshire, brings significant experience of teaching and training as a theological educator for many years (he is an emeritus professor of Aberdeen University) and he has been at the heart of church leadership in traditional and experimental forms of church for decades.

He leads our BUS Peaceful Transformations Team and is a member of the Board of Ministry so understands well the ways and culture of our Union. The panel shared a strong sense that the Lord has equipped him for this role and this is the right time for him to serve in this way.

He started his post with BUS on 9th September 2019.

Dr Jacqueline Primrose

Dr Jacqueline Primrose, former Convenor of the Baptist Union of Scotland and friend to a wide range of people in our churches, died and went to be with the Lord on Sunday 8th September 2019. She had bravely endured a battle with cancer during the last two years, overflowing with faith, hope and love through the ups and downs of various treatments. Let’s join in giving thanks for her life and holding in our prayers her husband, Colin, their children Deborah, Gillian and David, and their wider family.

Dr Jacqueline Primrose was appointed Convenor of the Baptist Union of Scotland in 2009. For over 7 years she served us faithfully and cheerfully. This voluntary role within our Union required dedication, courage, skill, the ability to listen and an exemplary Christian character which were clearly evident in her life.

Jacqueline showed great courage as she championed the forgotten or quiet voices and questioned the perceived wisdom of other leaders. She demonstrated dedication as she faithfully attended numerous meetings, travelling many miles to support churches and their leaders. She was skilled in following the arguments being presented at Assembly or Council, and ensured reports were complimentary and well-presented. She sought to ensure that what was organised was, above all, God-honouring.

Jacqueline was a careful and pastoral listener to colleagues, church office-bearers, Assembly delegates and Council members. She listened to the best and worst of Scottish Baptist life over the years and always sought to bring a sense of God’s presence and peace, whatever she encountered.

Jacqueline was a bringer of joy and life to our Union. Whether comforting staff during difficult periods of change, often supplying cake and calories with great liberality, or guiding our Assembly and Council with a sense of assurance and presence from which we all drew strength, Jacqueline smiled and believed in the great hope rooted in our faith in the resurrection of Christ.

We give grateful thanks to the Lord for the faithfulness of Jacqueline Primrose, a servant of Christ who accepted the call to serve our Union at a critical moment, pouring herself out in the service of our churches for the sake of Christ our Lord, in whose near presence she now rests.

North Edinburgh Churches Come Together

We had a wonderful evening on Wednesday 4th September for the receiving of the baton from Martin Hodson.

Some of the churches in the north Edinburgh came together, with people from Abbeyhill, Bristo, Granton, Leith, Portobello and South Leith. There were over one hundred people in attendance from the various congregations involved, who sat down to an amazing fellowship meal provided by Leith Baptist Church, the hosts for the evening.

After the meal we moved upstairs to the Sanctuary, the recently inducted Pastor at Abbeyhill, Simon Schofield, led the evening and Pastor Andre Barbosa from Leith Baptist lead sung worship with a band compromising of members from gathered churches. After this, Martin spoke into the theme and verse that had been given to the leadership of the Scottish Baptist Union throughout the 150th anniversary year, the story of Caleb’s daughter who has been given the dry Land of the Negev as her birth right. The Land is barren due to its dryness, and she asks her father for a gracious blessing of springs of water to irrigate the whole Land. He spoke on the challenge faced by congregations in this day and age, and the encouragement that had been found in different ways of doing church, before praying over the gathering with pastors 'taking hold' of the baton.

Afterwards, the represented Pastors from the gathered congregations shared their church visions and prayer points, and those present split up into groups for a time of open prayer. The evening ending with some more sung worship. What a wonderful way for our fraternal to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the union. It has encouraged many of those who gathered to seek to come together in worship and prayer sometime in the future!

The Fisherman’s Tale @ BUS Live Streams Event

Motherwell Concert Hall

1-5pm - Saturday 2nd November 2019

(2 performances)

We are excited that 4Front Theatre Company will be up in Scotland for our special Live Streams event on Saturday 2nd November.

This Christian theatre company regularly travels across the UK to bring stories from the Bible to life for all-age audiences. They also regularly appear on stage at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh!

As part of our special Assembly celebrations, we are delighted that they are going to give two performances of their acclaimed play ‘The Fisherman’s Tale’ during our Live Streams event.

The Live Streams event, running from 1pm to 5pm on the Saturday afternoon, will have something for everyone!

For families, we will have ‘The Fisherman’s Tale’, Amazonia bringing small animals to handle, an all-age prayer zone, fun face-painting and more… as well as free cake!

There will also be an afternoon tea hosted by the Scottish Baptist Women’s Fellowship in an adjacent venue, a ‘one-show’ style programme and a series of bite-sized lectures.

The event will conclude with an all-age closing service with sung worship led by the band Celtic Worship.

This looks set to be an exciting event to finish our year of 150th Anniversary celebrations with and we do hope you will be able to join us!

Tickets are available using the link below: