Summer 2022 edition:
Conversation and Connection
From their earliest days, Baptists have long sought to support each other. ‘The three notes of walking in fellowship, watching in mutual care and openness to ever-new possibilities have rung down the years in Baptist churches
’, wrote theologian Paul Fiddes in a 2016 Baptists Together article exploring covenant. He explained that ‘walking together and watching over each other’ was not just a matter for individual believers in a local congregation, but for congregations too, who walked together in ‘association’ with each other and beyond. This is in response to Jesus Christ who, ‘as the maker of the New Covenant, is gathering us together and who stands in the midst of his people as the risen Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit’.
One of the ways we seek Christ together is through the Baptist Assembly. This year’s event, both the first in-person gathering since 2019 and the first ever hybrid event, has the theme of conversation and connection: a place to reconnect, where we can offer encouragement, support and inspiration. This edition of Baptists Together
magazine has been birthed out of the creative conversations behind Assembly, and consequently explores some of the aspects involved in healthy conversation and connection – discerning the mind of Christ, listening well, exploring together, understanding the theological grounds for unity when we are different, and what mutual support looks like in a number of local settings. The majority of the articles also end with conversation starters, which we have added to help you (or even your small group) reflect on the content in your own context. The theme dovetails neatly with the challenge of incoming President Hayley Young to build a bigger table, a challenge that includes welcoming those who have been excluded and cheering each other on.
With a pandemic followed by a horrifying war in Europe, steep rises in the cost of living and climate worries, we are living in an increasingly turbulent world, and our communities surely need Jesus’ grace and transforming power. What does it mean to demonstrate and share Jesus at this time? As Lynn Green writes, ‘He is our rock, our comfort and our inspiration, and he is always with us’. He stands in our midst, and through him, we can support and inspire each other – as we have long sought to do.
Click here for the Summer 2022 edition
The key articles in the magazine are featured below:
|A bee and a hive are part of this year’s Baptist Assembly imagery as a helpful metaphor of our connectedness as Baptists Together.
|Are we listening?|
|We need God’s help to relearn the art of listening, writes Pat Took, for the sake of ourselves and of each other, for the sake of the church and of the Kingdom.
|A theology of unity in diversity|
|We may hold different views and ideas, but can we unite in Christ? Here are three theological ideas that can help us appreciate the kind of unity God spoke about in the Bible. By Israel Olofinjana
|An unexpected conversion|
|Our churches have seen a flourishing of social action over the last decade, but not the revival of baptisms or new members many of us have also been praying for. How are we to make sense of this – and what happens next? By Trevor Neill
|God saw that it was good|
|Let’s deepen our faith by connecting afresh with the natural world, a place where God might be seen and met. Are we looking? By Dave Gregory
|A connecting conversation|
|Conversations are opportunities to connect a little deeper with one another and learn more about ourselves, each other and God, writes Carmel Murphy Elliott.
For other articles from this edition, please see the 'Stories from the Ground'