Attentive to rhythms of grace - Geoff Colmer inducted as Baptist Union President
New President Geoff Colmer encouraged Baptist churches to be attentive to God and not rush back to what they have always done
Geoff was inducted as Baptist Union President during the AGM of the Baptist Union of Great Britain on Saturday morning, and then prayed for during the Sunday morning session.
During the Saturday broadcast he introduced his theme "Being attentive to rhythms of grace", and explored how it related both to him personally and Baptists Together as a whole.
Geoff, the regional minister of team leader of Central Baptist Association, explained how in 2020 he had been diagnosed with an incurable but treatable cancer. This had seen a six week stay in hospital, 12 weeks of wearing a back brace, and rounds of chemotherapy.
Having stem cell transplant in early May would naturally mean that his Presidential year would need 'a slow start'. He said that this would be the case for churches too as restrictions begin to ease.
'As we emerge out of the pandemic we will be in a period of uncertainty and to some degree, continued unpredictability. The pressure will be to rush back into things.
'I’m going to need a slow start because of my condition – but I think many churches will need to take things easily, and not rush back into doing things we have previously done.
'I hope there will be that attentiveness. Firstly people need to recover – this year has been harrowing. And in that recovery attentiveness to rhythms of grace will be paramount.’
'Also finding ourselves in this place presents an opportunity to discern afresh who we are and what we do.'
Geoff said that in our vulnerability, God does come close by his grace. He explained that over the darkness of the past year he'd had 'other dimensions of God’s presence I haven't experienced - a profound sense of God's presence... something I've really held onto.'
He encouraged churches to have an openness to God.
'I hope we have that openness – we don't know what the year ahead will be like. But as we're open, I'm sure that God will surprise us repeatedly.'
A number of comments welcoming Geoff and his words were shared during the broadcast. They included this phrase, which seemed to capture his message: 'A recovering leader for a recovering year. It’s exciting.'
After responding to the Presidential induction promises asked of him by General Secretary Lynn Green, outgoing President Yinka Oyekan prayed for Geoff.
Earlier Lynn had thanked Yinka for all his efforts over the previous 12 months, describing him as 'the right person for the right season.'
'You've been uniquely positioned to give voice to God's heart for justice, particularly racial justice.
'You are a man of faith and hope and love... We've seen your servant-heartedness. You're such an encourager.
'We've valued your prophetic and prayerful ministry, particularly the prayer you've offered to ministers and leaders.
'We've appreciated your passion for evangelism, and I'm sure the fruit of that will continue to work its way out through our movement.
'You have been a real blessing to our movement.'
Yinka said it had been 'a privilege to serve in extraordinary times.'
He explained he stood on a platform of evangelism, to be outward looking in the proclamation of the gospel and bring as and to bring as many people as we can into fellowship with Jesus Christ.
However, world events had led him to represent our Baptist family in places he'd not intended to occupy, speaking on issues of justice for people of colour.
Nevertheless, he stayed focused on his commitment, and offered online of training each month to interested churches, on pioneering, art, healing ministry, family, and pioneering new communities of groups. He explained he was still looking at how we can gather millennials.
Yinka said he will fulfil his promise of doing an evangelistic tour / evenings around the country.
'I was astonished at some of the testimonies that came back. All in all it has been a huge privilege to serve the Baptist family. There's a whole host activity and engagement with churches seeking to do mission where they are.
'We should be proud – of the prophetic voice we hold in our nation - and I still believe a there's a renewal coming to our Baptist family.'
'There's a lot more we can do as a Baptist family to bring the kingdom to our neighbourhoods.'
Watch from 39.05: