Dear Friends, I’m writing to all of our Association Churches following our EBA Assembly in Sheringham to share with you some of the exciting and significant developments in the life of the Association.
A new way of working for our Regional Ministers
During the Listening/Conversation exercise earlier this year there was an overwhelming indication from the churches that you would value more direct contact with Regional Ministers other than a preach at an occasional Sunday Service. The regional team have taken that on board and offered to Assembly a new pattern of working which could possibly mean that a Regional Minister would visit every church in their Sector at least once a year.
Using a 3 year rolling plan Regional Ministers will seek to: – visit a deacon/leadership meeting on one occasion during a three year period; – will attend a church meeting on one occasion during a three year period – preach on one occasion during a three year period. That would mean that Regional Ministers would be available to preach on 18–21 Sundays per year. In addition Regional Ministers will be encouraged to be present as a member of a congregation in one of their Sector Churches on between 9–12 Sundays per year. The EBA Council have also been aware that Regional Ministers are in membership of a local church and therefore would want to encourage them to worship with their own Church family on approximately 9 Sundays per year.
The other 9 Sundays in the year will be free of all EBA responsibilities (5 as holiday, and 4 to be used at Regional Minister’s discretion). Any additional Sundays not allocated will again be used at the Regional Minister’s discretion.
We believe that this pattern of working will enable the Regional Team to engage with churches in a more creative manner.
To book a Regional Minister for a preaching appointment please contact Hayley Beckett, our Association Secretary, who will be managing the RM Preaching Diaries.
Association Sector Re-organisation.
As part of our desire that our Regional Ministers can be more pro-active in encouraging us all in our mission, Assembly received a report on how in the future our team will engage with the churches. Part of that report included a small re-organisation and reallocation of the churches within the three sectors. This has been done with reference to where churches relate as opposed to the actual geography of the area. The result of this is that the following churches will, from 1st November 2014, become part of the Central Sector and receive their pastoral support and other encouragement from Simon Goddard: Bishop’s Stortford, Cottenham, Girton, Histon, Landbeach, Waterbeach and Re-New.
Future EBA Assemblies.
The EBA covers around 6500 square miles and this creates a number of issues for us when it comes to working out where and how it might be best for us to gather together. The Assembly received and discussed a proposal from the EBA Council that for a period we should trial new ways of gathering together. After some discussion the following was agreed, and will be trialled over the next 6 year period:
- The Association will gather for a weekend Assembly (similar to our well received time in Sheringham) in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
- In 2015, 2017 and 2019 there will be a gathering held in each of the Sectors on a Saturday or Sunday for discussion, deliberation, training and celebration. The Regional Team and representatives of the EBA Council will be present at all three gatherings.
- In the years that we have 3 Sector gatherings, one will be designated to include the Annual General Meeting. People from across the Association can attend any, or indeed all, of the Sector gatherings.
We hope that these changes, now approved by Assembly, will further enable us to deliver on our mission statement: To see God’s Kingdom grow in the East of England, through healthy churches, living as wholesome communities and engaging in relevant mission.
If you have any questions do get in touch with one of the Regional Ministers.
On behalf of the EBA Assembly,
Rev David R Mayne
Moderator, Eastern Baptist Association