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April 2015


BUS 2015

Finding a Home For Good When a group of carpenters at a church in Sutton heard that there are 4,000 children waiting to be adopted and an urgent need for 8,600 more foster placements, what do you think they did? None of them decided to foster or adopt. But that’s OK; they weren’t in the position to do so, at the moment. However, that didn’t mean they did nothing. Instead, they came forward and offered their services to anyone in the community – not just the church – who was in the adoption or fostering assessment process. They offered to do any work required to make their home more childfriendly – for free. When churches in Southampton found that their city desperately needed to recruit 80 foster carers in the next 12 months, they committed to finding 40 from the Christian community. That year, more than 80 church-goers applied to become foster carers. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are urged to look after the vulnerable. In James (1:27) we read that, “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” With 50 children being taken into care every day in the UK, there is a crisis. As God’s people, we are called to offer a solution. We believe the Church is ideally placed to respond – both in terms of finding families and supporting those that do decide to foster or adopt. Home for Good was launched as a charity in its own right in September 2014 with the vision of

“God’s people are urged to look after the vulnerable. In James (1:27) we read that, “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” finding a home for every child that need one. Through our web of connections we have a voice into 15,000 churches. That means, if one family in each of these churches chose to foster or adopt, there would no longer be a crisis in the care system, and the lives of thousands of children would be transformed. The life outcomes for children who have a bad experience of the care system are not good. 27% of the adult prison population were in care as children. Similar statistics exist when it comes to homelessness or unemployment. Imagine if the church was responsible for ensuring that every child had a home for good? This is what we would ask: 1) Ask those in your church who are already foster carers or have adopted how you can make church a more welcoming place for them. 2) Using the resources we provide, raise awareness about the need and encourage people to consider fostering or adopting. 3) Wrap around and support families in your church that foster and adopt. Find out how you can get involved: Phil Green, CEO of Home For Good

Published by The Baptist Union of Scotland, (Charity Registration SC004960) 48 Speirs Wharf, Glasgow, G4 9TH, t: 0141 423 6169 f: 0141 424 1422

A Home Found for Good unpredictable but despite the difficult behaviours Amie presented, her parents persevered, with the help of the local church. “I had a whole extended family at my church. I had really good helpful and supportive youth leaders, who fortunately kept me on the straight and narrow.” Social work was pessimistic about her educational prospects. Just getting past one year of school was an achievement. Despite this regular prediction of poor attainment, Amie went on to study Primary Singer Songwriter, Amie Aitken, Children and Teaching followed by a Theology degree. Families worker at Carluke Baptist, has overcome As troublesome a time as this was, it also was when the odds to get where she is today. Born in she discovered her musical talents. Amie, always Possilpark - one of Glasgow and the United encouraged to sing around the house, got herself Kingdom’s most deprived areas - she was taken into involved with the worship band and learned piano. foster care, almost from the point of birth, because Unlike many Christian artists, however, she describes her alcoholic mother was unable to care for her. her music as ‘horizontal’ as opposed to ‘vertical’. “My first words were ‘black taxi’.” she said. She was “I do performance rather than worship, so that I shifted around from home to home, with multiple can share my story with others, which is more my short-term placements over two years. style. At heart I’m an entertainer - but always with However, things changed dramatically when one a purpose. There’s an incredible opportunity to couple committed witness that way. “It’s not looking alike or being related to one another People have to sticking with her. that makes us family. It’s the fact that we’ve chosen to come up to me Eileen and Alan accept each other.” Aitken, members of at gigs and said Kirkintilloch Baptist, how impacted adopted her when she was three. they were by my songs because they’ve had similar Aged 12, she committed her life to Jesus and got experiences.” baptised. This by no means meant her life got Last year she released her first EP ‘Audience of instantly better. In fact, it got difficult as she went One’ and toured to promote it for Home for Good. through her teenage years, wrestling with her There’s a ‘pop-soul’ sound that matches artists like identity. Although born into a family of 5 , she has Joss Stone, Emeli Sandé and Jimmy Needham. only a vague recollection of her birth mother, who This year Amie has written and released the died when she was a toddler. Her biological father official Home For Good single, based on her tour remained anonymous and absent. Social work experiences and her involvement with local foster failed to provide a life story book that is often given families - see the review over the page. Any church to those being fostered, so she has no photos or with a heart for cultivating a culture of adoption momentos of her birth family to look back on. and fostering in their congregations should get in “During my teen years, though I didn’t understand touch about hosting a gig on the new tour. She will it at the time, I actually started to grieve for a also be leading worship at Assembly 2015. family I had lost. The struggles came from loving A recent trip to see Paddington at the cinema with my adopted parents so much that I felt guilty for a foster child from her church had a line that really thinking about the family I didn’t know. All this stuck: “It’s not looking alike or being related to grief and guilt mixed together made me a difficult one another that makes us family. It’s the fact that person to deal with.” we’ve chosen to accept each other.” During those years, family life could be Rory Martin

BUS 2015


Easter Message

Sports Day Volunteers

Can you volunteer time this Sports Day to help in any of the following areas? There are jobs for everyone and this year will even get you some points for your church.

Badminton Umpires: Life after death! It’s the joy and the hope we are rooted in. I never cease to wonder at how Jesus makes Himself known to people, here and now. We look at the Cross of Jesus where He bore the full consequence of our sins, remembering that He came alive again on Easter day. Sin’s power broken, mercy and justice shown. But we also celebrate that for everyone a new life can begin now. That Jesus invites all to join him in an ongoing, Easter journey: where death to self, embracing the hope offered through Jesus-centred living, leads us into a life filled and empowered by the Spirit of God.

Need to know the rules of badminton and be available for most of the day (approx. 11:30-3:30). There is usually only one umpire per court with several courts in use at the same time. The umpires are led by the Badminton Co-ordinator who is able to help with any disputes if needed.

Administrators: Administrators help at different sports by collecting scores and filling in score sheets for Co-ordinators, keeping each sport organised. Depending on the sport they may need to be available all day. This role greatly reduces the time the people who collate the scores at the end of the day need.

Long Jump:

In these coming days, may you find afresh the joy of dying with Jesus and being raised in His resurrection power. May you be filled afresh by the Holy Spirit, enabled and inspired to reflect the life of our Lord.

This role involves recording the lengths competitors jump, raking the sand and keeping the event on time. It usually runs for several short periods throughout the day, though we are possibly going to try having it all in one longer run this year.

High Jump: Jim Purves

Scottish Baptist History Project Spring Day Conference 25 April 10am, New Prestwick Baptist Church, 192 Prestwick Rd, Ayr Three talks: - The history of New Prestwick Baptist Church by David Nash. -Peter Grant the great highland Preacher and Gaelic hymn writer by George Mitchell. -Reflections on the work of a Mission-Networker by Noel McCullins. All are welcome Contact Brian Talbot on for further details.

This role involves recording the heights competitors jump to, giving competitors several attempts and maintaining the safety of the landing mats … a short explanation of rules is available. It usually runs for several short periods throughout the day, though we are possibly going to try having it all in one longer run this year if space allows. Get in touch with Jenny at the BUS office or jenny@ Mo Gibbs

Next Issue...

We’re looking at how we’re Unashamedly Missional in eductation. If you’ve got anything you think is relevant, contact:

April Prayer Link Sunday 5th Cornton Baptist Church, Hamish Wishart - We give God thanks for a thriving and vibrant church life! Pray for us as we look to the future in relation to youth work which has long been at the heart of our calling, and in relation to potential new ministries as we seek to build each other up in our faith and strengthen the links with the community we serve.

Sunday 12th Cowdenbeath Baptist Church, Graham Kinloch We ask for your prayers for Pastor and Deacons as we seek God’s will for the church and consider new administration/management structures. Give thanks for the ministry of Rev Graham Kinloch; for the opportunity in the High School through Scripture Union; for five baptisms on Easter Sunday morning; for increased numbers in the Sunday Services; for input into the setting up of a Food Bank in the town. For housegroups about to begin. We have much to praise God for and seek His continued blessing as we go forward with Him. Crieff Baptist Church, Jim Newell - Pray for us, as we reach into the community with the “Penny Gospels” and invitations to a Saturday morning café style “Christianity Explored Course” including crèche . Pray for upcoming baptismal and membership classes . Pray for us to know the on-going sense of the Unity of the Spirit through all we do for the glory of God! We humbly remain a church fellowship that actively engages in “Seeking Jesus and Serving Others.” The Lord bless you in your own churches in all your endeavours for him.

Sunday 19th Stuart Murdoch (Chaplain, Strathcarron Hospice) - Give thanks to God for the Staff Team at Strathcarron Hospice and how they have fully embraced Chaplaincy as an integral part of the team. The countless opportunities to support Staff, patients and their familes are truly humbling. Give thanks for the new development of Staff Reflections

@scottishbaptist which is well supported by staff. Other opportunities to develop Spiritual Care within the Hospice are under consideration please pray for guidance. Crown Terrace Baptist Church, Gary Smith - We praise God for the toddlers in our church family and the life they bring. We also give thanks for the work among the homeless of Aberdeen on Friday evenings, and the other churches who partner with us in this project. We would value prayer for the upcoming church away day as we explore church life and look at how we can use the resources that we have wisely to fulfil the vision God has placed on our hearts for the communities around the church. We would also value prayer for the deacons election in May, and that those thinking about taking on a leadership role would consider prayerfully the possibility. Culduthel Christian Centre, Alasdair MacLeod - We give thanks for new life in Christ through a recent visit of Luis Palau and fruitful one-to-one follow up. After many years of using Christianity Explored, we are also planning to run a series of Alpha courses over the next year. We would value prayer for our discipleship work to equip the congregation for whole life witness in the places where they spend the majority of their time. Finally, we are seeking to build a church for our mission partner in Bulgaria. Having raised the finance, we await guidance on the best location and planning permission

Sunday 26th Culloden Baptist Church, Kenny Ross - The builders begin the construction phase of our church building project this month so please pray everything goes according to plan, for good relations with the community, and also for the Lord’s provision. More importantly though, pray that people in Inverness might begin and continue to value Christ more than they do right now! To that end please pray for a church plant being launched in Inverness. For more info click here https:// Cupar Baptist Church, Tim Power - We are thankful for the continuing blessing of Messy Church, a shared initiative of three churches in Cupar rotating between each, and `staffed’ each month by members of each church. Often between 80 and 100 children and carers attend and more than 250 local kids, mostly unchurched, have experienced Messy Church in our first year. Please pray in thanks for this, for its continuing success and for those beginning to seek something ‘more’, that they find the right church for them. A couple of new house groups have started recently which is a change of direction for us, and we are about to bring to the town Christianity Explored for the first time. Please pray that we can connect with those who seek the Lord but have yet to find a way.

Pray too for ... Alan Donaldson - As we rejoice with thankfulness for the death and ressurection of our Lord, I will be sharing this Good News with Milestone Christian Fellowship, Gourock and Greenock Baptist Churches. I will be travelling around the country for meetings with a variety of church leaders and hosting a gathering of those who lead some of our larger churches. This month will also include a period of rest with the family in Oxfordshire. Mo Gibbs - This month involves working out the different Step Out teams and churches that will be partnering with them, as well as continuing to edit materials. Please pray for wisdom in all of this. I’m also going to be preaching and sharing in Galashiels and Inverkeithing Baptist Churches which I’m excited about. Over Easter I’ll have some time off to relax with family, so please pray this is a refreshing time for us. Jacqueline Primrose - I give thanks for our first Residential March Council meeting - it went well and we had a good time together. Please pray for our Trustees as they work diligently to ensure that we work well. We have a meeting this month and I give thanks for them all. John Greenshields - Join in thanksgiving for two very good conferences with ministers this year already. After such a full period, April offers some opportunity for preparation for the forthcoming Board of Ministry in early May, and for a number

of speaking engagements looming. The National Settlement Team meets in Didcot over 20-21 April. Give thanks for the appointment of my successor, Martin Hodson, and pray for God’s blessing as I prepare to hand over to Martin by early October. Jim Purves - Give thanks to God for what I have witnessed to be many healthy, developing churches within our Union. As our nation experiences many challenges, thank God for increasing community involvement and faithful adherence to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for God’s blessing on those in congregational leadership and for Spirit-filled wisdom and insight for effective mission.


BUS 2015

Council Digest This Council was the first in our new pattern of two, 26 hour Residential Councils per year. Meeting in Pitlochry, around 40 council members gathered from around Scotland. The new form of Council allows time for deeper reflection, returning to issues over a variety of sessions and spending extended time together in God’s Word, prayer and communion. National Team Report: Alan brought the National Team report, which included a series of reflections as he completes 5 years of service. In particular, he noted the slowing of decline in membership in our churches and the increase of attendance at Sunday Worship. Alan highlighted the greater engagement of churches in our local communities; and yet noted the gap we struggle with between the ministry of service and the ministry of the Word. This creative tension will be the key theme of our forthcoming Assembly in 2015. Finance and Budget: Peter brought a hugely encouraging report of churches increasing their giving to the Scottish Baptist fund, with churches having given over 90% of the per capita requested annually This has allowed us to retain the figure of £40 per member for another year. We are budgeting for a balanced budget in 2015/2016. We have also been able to put aside £200,000 for the purpose of dealing with the shortfall in the staff pension scheme. GD review: Having served our Union for 5 years as General Director, a small group was set-up to review Alan’s ministry among us. The review included seeking confidential comments from staff, Council members, ministers, other Union leaders and members of our congregations. The group reported to Council the findings of their work and Council strongly affirmed the ongoing ministry of the Rev Alan Donaldson as General Director, expressing their unanimous appreciation of his ministry. Retirement Scheme: Long conversations were engaged in concerning the future of the Retirement Property Scheme, which ceased to be open to new members 5 years ago. There remains more work

to be done in this area; but Council made helpful comments towards guiding the National Team forward. The priority is to continue to maintain the property for the current tenants, gently and regularly increasing the rents. The initial Report should be referred to the Auditor, to ensure that the fund is properly reported in the annual accounts. We must capture the spirit in which these properties were gifted, establishing how we might utilise them towards meeting the modern needs of ministry. We should also explore how good, financial advice might be obtained for ministers early in their ministry, including looking into the possibility of forming a Union group of professionals who might help in this area. We recognised that the future is likely to involve a mixture of selling and letting the property portfolio, to meet future needs of our Union. Above all, we should maintain flexibility in the future use of these assets. Appointment of Trustees and future Councils: Council approved the bye law changes agreed by Assembly, incorporating them into our byelaws. Churches will be invited each year to make nominations for the appointment of Council members, from among church leaders and Assembly delegates. These nominations will be forwarded to the National Team and Trustees. New Trustees will, from now on, be appointed by Assembly. Assembly: The Council explored three aspects of Assembly: venue, duration, and how we pay for Assembly. Motherwell Civic Centre was seen as an ideal venue for Assembly, but Council felt that we should seek to meet in a different venue every third year. This year’s Assembly has been planned to last 2 days. Council affirmed this decision and will review it following this year’s Assembly. Having explored a few ideas, it was felt that the way we pay for Assembly should continue, with each church paying a registration fee for each delegate or visitor. Mission Development Coordinator: The appointment group reported that they were unanimous in recommending that no appointment

be made at this time. Consideration as to the future of this role was remitted to the National Team, who will report back to Council in September.

personnel and a variety of developments around the world, including a report on that day’s shooting in Tunisia.

Ministry Development Coordinator: The appointment group reported that they were unanimous in recommending the Rev Martin Hodson’s appointment to Council. After hearing the full report, Council unanimously affirmed this appointment. (Full details available separately.)

Resource Grants: the Rev Peter Dick reported that Erskine had received a grant towards a part time community worker; Peebles have been granted a continuation of grant for a further 3 years; Sheddocksley have had an increase in their youth worker grant who has moved from part to fulltime; Selkirk have been awarded a grant for a subsequent worker; Central in Dundee has been given a grant to support the church planting in Lochee.

Youth Development Coordinator: the Rev Mo Gibbs will start maternity leave in May. Mrs Yvonne Faddes, who covered previous maternity leave, has agreed to fill the gap once more. Board of Ministry: Council began to explore the nature of continuing ministry development, in asking, ‘what areas do we need to better equip our ministers in?’. We also began to explore who could usefully be involved in potential, future appraisal processes for ministers. Written feedback from small groups has been forwarded for consideration to the Board of Ministry. Mission Initiative Group: The group presented 4 potential, priority areas for mission development in our churches and beyond. These included reaching the poor, establishing Baptist communities in under-reached areas, supporting the transition of churches in decline where numbers remain in the 20’s and in learning from new partners. Council explored how BMS expertise and knowledge could help us in pursuing these aims. Council also explored other priorities, expressing appreciation of and affirming the work and trajectory of the Mission Initiative Group. College: the Rev Dr Ian Birch spoke of changes and growth in the Scottish Baptist College. Council explored in some detail potential new governance structures for the College, which may include Council incorporating both the AGM of the College and representation of the member churches. These possibilities will continue to be explored by Council and the College committee. BMS: We were joined by the Rev David Kerrigan via Skype, to hear an update on Scottish mission

Prayer: Each of our churches were prayed for at Council, as were the communities of Scotland with a population of 5,000 or more that do not have a Baptist presence. Council members took these prayer lists home to continue prayer for our nation. Council concluded with communion led by the local Baptist Minister, the Rev David Barrie; and spent time praying for our National Team.

Connect April 2015  

In this edition we look at the theme of family, with a special focus on fostering and adoption in the church.

Connect April 2015  

In this edition we look at the theme of family, with a special focus on fostering and adoption in the church.