• The sound of silence
    reflection on Luke 1: 5-20 Silence can be both deafening and disturbing for those who are waiting to hear, for people longing to know. Silence as the doctor reads through the notes and test results. Silence and hopelessness as we wait longingly to hear about someone we love, who hasn’t spoken to us for weeks, months or years. Silence that follows a blazing argument, as we reflect on what we have just said and the consequences of our actions. The silence of God as we seek guidance for the future. There are times when silence can be incredibly uncomfortable or deeply frustrating; and yet it can be unmistakably powerful. It is truly amazing how silence adds volume to the voice. Of course, this leads to a further challenge: how to break the silence. How will I speak? What are the correct words to say? How do I prepare the listener to hear what needs to be said? We have developed phrases to help us break the silence: “There’s something I need to tell you”, “Are you sitting down?”, “I don’t know how to tell you this!” We break the silence with something that prepares the listener to hear our significant message. Years of silence ticked by for Zechariah and Elizabeth, hoping for a blessing, the lifting of their shame and their longing for a future. Their experience reflecting the long term years of silence for a nation, hoping for a blessing, the lifting of their shame and their longing for a future. God’s silence is broken on both the issue of childlessness and the future of Israel with the words, “Do not be afraid…for your prayer has been heard” Luke1:13. These deeply personal words are also words to Zechariah, as the representative of the people of God on that day. Luke records for us the breaking of God’s silence after 400 years, with a transitional story deeply linked to moments in Israel’s past but also pointing to God’s future global plan of salvation. The outstanding question is, ‘will the listeners have ears to hear an ready to respond to his voice?’ In this season of anticipation, may you have patience in your waiting, persistence in your praying, time and space for listening with faith, to respond to the silence and to God’s voice. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Messengers of Hope
    Assembly booking is now open. We are returning to Motherwell Civic Centre. Early Bird discounts are available until the end of the month! Everything sounds predictable, except this year you could be a keynote speaker. You are being invited to bring a message of hope to our Assembly. There is no age limit, no media limitation, you don’t need to have achieved some elevated status of leadership within the church. We are looking to gather together messages of hope from the churches collectively, and also from individuals who will take the time to carefully and prayerfully craft a letter, tweet or video to be shared in the run up to Assembly and during the course of our gathering. Baptists have been committed to the priesthood of all believers since their inception. One expression of this is that we believe that each of us can speak directly with our Father God and can hear his voice directly, through others, in his word and in the world around us. Taking time to listen to all voices is a challenge. Big voices are always easier to hear, yet in Scripture it is so often the still, small voice that we are drawn to, in order to hear the word of God. Your message should explore the theme of hope. If using social media, please use #BUShope. If writing a letter or email, it should be no longer than 250 words and printed on one side of paper, it can be posted to our usual address marked “hope” or emailed to BUShope2017@gmail.com We are creating a YouTube channel where we will upload your videos. We would encourage you to film these on a phone held horizontally, and it should last no longer than 1 minute. Please think carefully and prayerfully about the message of hope you wish to share. The videos will be streamed throughout Assembly, with letters on display in the exhibition area. Social media messages will be immediately live on our social media channels, and should be posted with appropriate care. Videos of hope: To upload video use wetransfer.com, When asked for email address use bushope2017@gmail.com God is at work in our nation, through our churches and the people of God. Amidst suffering, personal and national distress, facing a world in great pain and daily impacted by the sinful selfishness of humanity, the resurrection gives us reason for hope and the power to live differently. In these messages, let us remind one another of the hope we have and the stories of hope that emanate from that deep belief #BUShope Hope, Baptist Union of Scotland, 48 Speirs Wharf, Glasgow, G4 9TH. Videos – BUShope2017@gmail.com
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  • Autumn: a season for harvest
    As the first tree in the street begins to change colour, I wake to dew covered grass, with mushrooms which have appeared overnight, and worm casts defacing the manicured lawn. I know that autumn is on its way. Soon the apple tree will release its ripe fruit, the root crops will be ready for pulling and rural churches will gather in thanksgiving for the harvest. Similarly, the National Team have been involved in several services of thanksgiving in the past few weeks which marks a changing of seasons. In this edition of connect you will read of changing ministerial roles at East Mains Baptist church and a celebration of the fruitful years they have experienced as they have grown as a congregation and developed the village centre. We have celebrated with Glenrothes Baptist church this month the excitement of a new building, opening with increased capacity and greater flexibility. The Rev Archie Macmillan, a former pastor, dedicated both the building and the people afresh to the work of mission, commenting that it was a delight to see years of prayerful sowing of seed come to fruition in this generation. This has also been a time of inductions, with almost every weekend a new minister beginning a new season of ministry. Several of our churches are in the early stages of building development, seeking planning permission or obtaining architects feasibility studies, in a season of long term preparation of their infrastructure. It has also been a privilege to visit several of our new church plants this month, to hear the stories of hope and of challenge that face them. These early phases of planting seed and waiting to see if it will germinate are testing, for those who have personally invested so much with the hope that their service will produce much fruit. When Paul wrote 1 Cor 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow”, he was addressing jealousy issues in the church; but it also acts as a reminder to us that, apart from Christ, we can do nothing. This month has been a month of great rejoicing for us, as a Baptist family, as we have celebrated God’s goodness. It has not been without its challenges, but there have been a great many reasons for hope: reasons to encourage one another and embolden faith. As we approach Assembly, we are looking to gather these stories of what God has been doing amongst us. We are encouraging everyone who comes to Assembly to bring a ‘message of hope’, a story of where they have seen God at work, in their lives and in the life of the local church. In advance of Assembly, we are collecting 1 minute ‘videos of hope’, filmed on your phone, that can be uploaded to our site and which will be shown throughout Assembly. In this season of harvest, may you know God’s presence and power wonderfully at work in your life. And, “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Messages of Hope To upload a 1 minute message of hope Film the video Use  https://wetransfer.com/ to upload the video bushope2017@gmail.com is the email address to use on the we transfer site You will receive a message to say that we have received it. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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