Recognition: the closing celebration
Ministers and preachers who have transferred to the accredited list and mission personnel about to go overseas were welcomed and commissioned during the closing celebration
Those about to be recognised were called Association by Association and invited to stand around the stage, facing the delegates.
New President Rupert Lazar led the act of commissioning by asking: ‘Do you promise to play your part in God’s mission through the Baptist family?’
Turning to the congregation he then asked: ‘Do you promise to prayerfully support and encourage these sisters and brothers as they play their part in God’s mission through the Baptist family?’
Everyone was then invited to participate in the following declaration, again led by Rupert:
As Baptists Together we commit ourselves to being a movement led by the Spirit of God:
We will seek God’s will and purpose;
We will value trust and respect one another in Christ;
Being serious about discipleship,
We will embrace adventure
And risk-taking faith in our faithful God;
Following the Servant King,
We will be generous of spirit,
Encouraging and inspiring one another,
To be all that God created us to be;
Seeking God’s Kingdom,
We will hunger and thirst after his righteousness,
Confronting evil and praying for the grace
To live the life of God’s coming Kingdom now.
These are our hopes and these are our clear intentions
Come, Lord Jesus
Come save your people
That we might live and proclaim
Good news for all your world. Amen
Following this declaration the ministers and mission personnel received handshakes from Rupert, Lynn Green and David Kerrigan as the worship band led delegates in singing I Surrender All.
Earlier in the session there was an opportunity to hear from the children's and youth programmes.
The Children and Youth pastor from Croxley Green Baptist Church, Jon Bishop, had been working with the children. He was interviewed by David Kerrigan on stage. He explained that to understand the concept of loving your neighbour, they had begun by thinking about friends, and then people who are outsiders. They had spoken about sharing, and had had a 'fascinating' discussion about loving your neighbour on Mincecraft.
‘What struck me was how much these kids understood what we’re talking about,’ said Jon, ‘Don’t’ assume they know nothing. It might need to be unpacked a little, but this has given them a chance to say what’s on their hearts.
‘It’s not just been about making a noise, but learning with the children: a fantastic chance to hear what passion these young kids have. It has really encouraged me.’
Short films were played featuring members of the youth programme talking about what it means to follow God. They had prepared a drama to accompany the words of the asylum commitment, and showed their art.
The session also featured the In Memoriam.
The Assembly closed with a blessing from Rupert.