Update from Assembly Council Following the May Annual Assembly

 

Hi Friends,

At our May Assembly, a resolution was passed by an 80% majority on how we move forward on the issues of Affiliation, Baptist Values and Marriage that we have been working through as a movement.  This resolution (see below for the wording) directed Assembly Council to progress a number of tasks and bring proposals back to our 2024 Annual Assembly.

Key among these tasks is building the relational process described in the resolution to engage with churches and pastors who do not support the Association’s position on marriage.  In order to move forward with this, Assembly Council have appointed a Consultative Group led by Rev Pete Davies, one of our most experienced denominational consultants. Pete is also pastor at our Boambee church, and Regional Minister for the North Coast/Mid-North Coast.  The team working with Pete is Pastor Allyson Beddoe, Andrei Mocanu and Rev Tony Calman. The team will also have the capacity to co-opt others to assist as needed and approved by AC.

The Consultative Group has been set 5 tasks:

  1. Draft clarifying principles as to what ‘support’ in the context of the Association’s position on marriage means and looks like in practice.
  2. Draft a “Relational” Process for engaging with any churches who may choose to disaffiliate or whose affiliation may be withdrawn by Assembly.
  3. Draft a “Relational” Process for any Pastors who may choose to resign their accreditation or may have their accreditation removed.
  4. Explore what supports might be offered to any churches & pastors who do not maintain affiliation or accreditation.
  5. Gather a list of potential “unintended consequences” of Assembly’s resolution & make suggestions as to options to overcome such challenges.

This process will seek to gather input from a wide spectrum of perspectives before formulating some draft processes for AC to consider and develop into recommendations for the Annual Assembly in 2024.

The full Terms of Reference for the Consultative Group maybe found HERE.

Other initiatives are also being progressed coming out of the May assembly.  These include:

  • Assisting churches in resources around the pastoral, missional and practical dimensions of living out our position on marriage.
  • Theological reflection around the nature of affiliation and also other areas related to our position on marriage that have been raised at Assembly.
  • Governance work, including potential relevant changes to our constitution.

Can I ask everyone to be in prayer as we seek to find God’s guidance as we move forward.  In particular, if you would be willing to receive regular points by email to assist in covering this process and all involved in it in prayer, please let us know HERE.

 

Jamie Long

Assembly Council Chair

The Resolution passed at our May Assembly was:

That Assembly Council:

  1. communicate to the churches at least 4 months prior to the 2024 Annual Assembly a relational process for engaging with and where necessary facilitating the withdrawal of already affiliated Churches and removal of already Accredited (and/or Recognised) Pastors who do not support the Association’s position on Marriage; and,
  2. and bring to a vote of that assembly any amendments to the constitution and the affirmation of ministry guidelines required for implementing this process. Any changes to other policy documents integral to this process should also be reported at this Assembly

This process will clarify any potential ongoing relationship between such a church or pastor and the Association where they are unable to continue to be affiliated or accredited with the Association.