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Between January and May we hope prophetic hunches, helpful insights, and creative thinking will emerge, some of which might become reality as 40 baptists share their thoughts of the future of baptist life in Britain

After 400 years of Baptist presence in Britain there is much to celebrate. However as society changes faster than at any point within the previous 4 centuries we need to think creatively and daringly even about the coming 40 years of life within BUGB let alone the next 400. The desire of this initiative is to open up hope-filled, prayer-led conversations about Baptist life, mission and resourcing at local, associational and national levels, as we look beyond 400 years to the future of BUGB.

This sets out to be a positive discussion in the spirit of hopeful imagination which seeks to value our Baptist family in all its expressions, whilst at the same time not avoiding asking questions, hearing challenges and exploring new or possibly rediscovering old shapes of relating and resourcing. This then is both a revisiting of our Baptist story as well as a look forward to how that story could unfold in the future.
 
Practically, from January until May 2012, we have asked 40 diverse Baptist voices to share their thoughts and stimulate people in re-imagining what it means to be a Baptist people in a rapidly changing context.  This first phase will therefore be completed by the start of the Baptist Assembly which also celebrates the theme Beyond 400. The second phase of this initiative will hopefully enable an even wider group of people to contribute in helping to kick-start the conversations.

Each contribution will be an article of up to 700 words, a video of less than 5 minutes, or picture(s). About two contributions will be published each week between January and May with everyone in our Baptist family encouraged to comment and discuss on the website and beyond.

This is about sharing and each article and comment is received and published by Beyond400 under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License unless stated otherwise, and this means anyone can freely reproduce it as long as this is done under the same licence and credit is given.

We hope to publish contributions as a printed book to enable non-internet access to the conversation before the Baptst Assembly in 2012.

We welcome your thoughts as we seek to make this a constructive and visionary initiative - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yours in His imagination, from 6 of the 40...

Peter Dominey     Juliet Kilpin          Andy Goodliff
Chris Duffett         Neil Brighton       Simon Jones

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40 Voices: Those published so far...

  • "Tracing Baptist theological Foot Prints" As we look beyond 400 years of Baptist life in England, I want to trace five theological footprints which marked early Baptist communities which might still be important as we ‘look beyond the horizon’ and ask what our vision might be. Reading the Bible
  • Reflecting beyond 400 years of Baptist history and ministry, I wonder what the Baptist family can do to make a definite contribution to the advancement of God’s kingdom in this generation and beyond. Here are a few of my thoughts. Firstly we need to recover our confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Imagine it is 2412, and we are a group of researchers asked to contribute to a data pod which is to be sent to Betelgeuse. We are commissioned to focus on the last 400 years, with special emphasis on the people called Baptist. What would we hope to discover, and how might those hopes for the future feed in
  • Many years ago a teenage Anglican moved to the other end of town and stopped going to church (her parents weren’t Christians). A friend took her to the badminton club at a local church, and then to summer camp. She thought: ‘if I am going on a trip with them I had better go to church. She discovered am
  • Click on the below "Continue reading" button to see this post in it's intended form as a 5 minute video. Also click "Continue reading" for a short summary written summary - though we strongly recommend the video for the full content.
  • I wonder why you became a Baptist? Maybe you never did: perhaps you’re a cradle Baptist, or you just found yourself once in a church with a Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) logo on the front, or perhaps you’d first reach for words like “Bible believing”, “liberal evangelical” or “charismatic” to d
  • I have a confession. Even though I have been married for 19 years, I’m in love with another’s bride. She’s beautiful, powerful, inspiring, she makes my heart leap, the very idea of what she might become thrills me. I might want to shape her, guide her, want her to fall in love with me too, but alas she is
  • ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’. (Albert Einstein). ‘Beyond 400’ - backwards! (6. Digging deeper into the past to find the future) …. after the prayer George of the House of Jakob arose and entreated Conrad Grebel for God’s sake
  • So there she was, a small woman, a lawyer, sitting behind an enormous desk piled high with manila folders. Each one charting the whereabouts of husbands, brothers, sons who had disappeared off the streets of El Salvador during its years of tyranny. With eyes that sparkled when she spoke she told us of the
  • In this Olympic year it seems appropriate to draw inspiration from Hebrews 12 in which the journey of faith is likened to a long distance race. Perhaps Team BUGB can be inspired by the athletes in Team GB as they prepare to win gold at the London Olympics… Begin with the End in Mind No one just tur
  • A decade ago my mate Darrell Jackson wrote a paper with the provocative title ‘Does the future have a denomination?’ I thought it pretty prescient and nicked it for the conclusion to my book Building a Better Body, where I asked it of the church. I was working for BMS World Mission at the time and we w
  • “Organisations, the Church included, are built to administer, maintain and protect from harm that which already exists; in contrast creative or dissenting people are designed to give birth to that which has never been in existence before. The dissenters threaten the well-oiled structures of an organisation
  • I finished up my street performance in the middle of Norwich on a hot summers day and jumped around exuberantly and I must admit, slightly hot and sweaty, holding above my head the straight jacket that I had just escaped from. It was a good show and I looked around awaiting the cheers but on this occasion
  • The fact is, at my tender age, I grew up on a different page I don’t come from a position of tradition or division Christianity is relatively new to me But clearly something made me say “Hey, I like the Baptist Way” Some people may not agree with me, my delivery or the way I see it Cause I’m not
  • The first baptist church in Britain met in Spitalfields, London, still known as a tolerant place which harbours dissenters, artists, anarchists and free-thinkers who want to challenge injustice and unfairness. Words such as these were used frequently to describe early baptists, a group of Jesus-followe
  • A one million pound black hole is projected for the Baptist Union of Great Britain end of year accounts, we can’t continue as we are and it has got people talking. The talk is of change and cuts. The financial predicament is painful, it will hurt when posts are almost inevitably cut and people tragical