Welcome to your Association’s 2020 Annual Report, which builds a picture of how God has been at work across our movement in a year of great challenge. This year, the full report including our Governance reporting and reports from our Affiliated Groups, has a new home online. I encourage you to browse and read the various sections which together paint the picture of an incredible year.
2020 was, without doubt, a year in which we needed, more than ever, to rely on God’s strength. With the bushfire emergencies of late 2019 and early 2020, and the COVID-19 emergency that developed from February onwards, a significant priority was pivoting to lead and resource our movement in how to respond. About 600 different individuals and 265 churches engaged in our COVID-19 response through our online Q&As, which were held regularly throughout the year. Ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and their implications for our churches led to research, advocacy with the Government and very regular communication back through to our churches.
Over $320,000 was donated to the Association’s Bushfire Relief Fund. 16 churches accessed funding to directly assist their communities, and services were funded in affected locations, with very significant positive impact.
At our Annual Assembly, which was delayed until late October due to COVID-19, we affirmed our Strategic Plan for 2020-22. This can be accessed here. The Plan is framed around the 4 key areas of our Vision Pictures:
- We see a movement of transforming, healthy communities
- We see a movement raising and empowering Kingdom-focused leadership
- We see an extraordinary mission-shaped movement of God across our churches and affiliated groups
- We see a movement impacting our society, culture and world
The Taskforce appointed in late 2019 to oversee a process of discussion around Affiliation, Baptist Values and Same-Sex Marriage conducted valuable forums and opportunities for feedback. These were completed just before COVID-19 hit. The report produced was a succinct and faithful rendering of the feedback of hundreds of people involved in the process, and included important reflections from the taskforce. We thank those involved for this valuable work. The Special Assembly to discuss motions related to these matters, intended to take place during the year, was postponed and occurred in February 2021.
Each ministry area of the Association is served by faithful and capable Association staff, who in an extraordinary year went above and beyond to support churches and leaders across the movement. In addition, the Association team works alongside an astonishing array of volunteers right across NSW & ACT. Our Assembly Council and the various committees and taskforces of our Association constitute a large base of almost all volunteers, who gave their time and talents willingly and often at significant personal cost during an unprecedented year. Each one is deserving of our gratitude, and we thank God for all of them.
COVID-19, while disorienting, did not sway us from our commitment to the GEN1K Vision. Our deep desire is to see the Kingdom of God come into the lives of people and communities, and to have the privilege of partnering with God in this work. To this end, we continue to seek God’s strength and enabling. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support in this work.
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT