As Baptist churches we believe that the appropriate place for discerning that is the local church, but we also commit to being with one another on the way, not always agreeing, but considering seriously the way others have discerned what Scripture says and heard the Spirit at work.
Our constant discerning of what Jesus wants us to be and do in church life means that it is rooted in and reflective of our contexts, but this means that we also need to hold our local understanding with humility, as a gathered piece of wisdom on the way that is appropriate for this time and place, but one which may need revision and change as we hear from others.
We know that even suggesting that human sexuality should be a conversation is a controversial thing to say. We want to state that whether or not it should be a conversation, it is one that is happening, and so we want to reflect and resource the questions people are asking and offer ways we might discuss this well. So please, we want to keep hearing from you.
(Taken from www.baptist.org.uk)
The staff team and trustees of the association have made the following statement on Human Sexuality and the Consultation on Ministerial Recongition Rules - you can read it here
Fresh Streams Association Day
To help support our churches during and after the BU consultation, we have invited Fresh Streams to run their Theology School in the NBA on 4th October.
The aim of the day is to create a safe space to encourage healthy, biblical, theological and pastoral conversations.
The day will also help leaders to explore theology and then enable them to have conversations with their own churches about Human Sexuality.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Spaces are limited so you must book into this event.
Time: 9am till 5:30pm
Venue: Portrack Baptist Church
Price: £40 per person
Baptists Together is a movement of nearly 2,000 autonomous churches who covenant together with a vision of growing healthy churches in relationship for God's mission. We are independent, yet we choose to be interdependent, and so what's really important to hear is that the wider expressions of our Baptist family exist to serve our churches in their mission and ministry. For this reason, when a request to change our ministerial rules was made, it was important that this request from our peers be carefully considered. In short, this request was to change these rules so that a minister who is in a same-sex marriage would no longer be committing gross misconduct and lose their accreditation.
Whilst Baptist Union Council holds the governance responsibilities for our ministerial recognition rules, they want to ensure that they are serving our churches and ministers in doing so. So, Council are encouraging feedback through a consultation process to enable Council to respond to the question that's been asked. In October, Council agreed the broad parameters for this consultation, and you can read more about this in the Council report on our website.
One of the key recommendations from the Council was that we needed to draw on appropriate professional expertise in designing and delivering a consultation process. So since then, our Core Leadership Team have been working on a more detailed project brief so that we can appoint the right people to help us in this way.
The anticipated timings for the consultation period will be from aiming for the Consultation to be open at the end of April but it will now run into the autumn.
We are aware that the prospect of all this is causing some consultation anxiety from ministers and we can really understand that.
A primary motivation for this work is to serve our churches, we recognise that churches will engage with this consultation at different levels.
For example, that some of our churches have already been considering issues around human sexuality with their leadership teams and church meetings. Some, however, might understandably feel ill-equipped to lead their church in considering these issues and fear the possible fallout from embarking on a consultation. For others, this is not even a live issue for you at the moment. So whilst Baptist Together Council wants to hear from as many churches and ministers as possible, because every voice is valued in this journey of discernment, we want this to happen in a way that supports and develops your mission and ministry locally and enables you to have the right conversations in your own context.
Resources for your Church
Baptist Together have put together resources for you and you church in this conversation; visit their site here to access them