One of the most important events in the Baptist community - 'Baptist Assembly' is going to start tomorrow. The event will be running through the Bank holiday weekend till Monday 3 May at the Cardiff International Arena, South Wales.
In the cloud of opinions towards the social and political issues within Christian contexts, the Baptists have shown their concern in this upcoming evangelical occasion. A range of social and political hot potatoes including asylum, debt and Islam are all set to come under the spotlight at what could be a controversial Baptist Assembly.
A Public Resolution Session on the final morning of the Assembly will debate the Baptist Assembly's response to the Government's 'Domestic Violence Crime and Victims' Bill, personal debt in the UK and the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Bill. This event will be used as a time to clarify the denominations standpoint, providing Christians with a solution for many complicated problems in the world.
Stephen Rand, Co-Chair of Jubilee Debt Campaign, will advise Baptist churches on how to take action to reduce world debt and increase fair trade. Three seminars will look at how Jesus relates to Islam and there will be a workshop on combating stress.
Moreover, 21 seminars and 24 special interest group meetings are planned, covering a variety of topics relevant to the church and society. Not only cultural and spiritual support is offered to attendants, but also in practical terms.
The Baptist Assembly is the annual gathering of British Baptists, arranged jointly by the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) and BMS World Mission. All churches are entitled to send delegates to the Assembly who may participate and vote in the decision-making process.
The Baptist Union Council will also report to members on the years activities and discuss plans for the coming year. While 2,700 guests gathered in 2003 - setting an all time record, it is expected to achieve 3000 people representing Baptist churches across the country this year.
Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance will open the Assembly with a keynote address on 'The Challenges of the Church'. Other speakers include Anna Maffei, Vice President of the Baptist Evangelical Union of Italy and Dr Billy Kim, President of the Baptist World Alliance, who hold their World Congress next year in Birmingham.
During the weekend, Peter Manson and Martin Hodson will also be inducted as Presidents of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and BMS World Mission respectively.