The President of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand is formally an Officer of the Baptist Union and takes on the voluntary role for a year. Susan Osborne was elected in November 2023 and is a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Titahi Bay, Wellington. For more information about The President, click here.

Well, I have well and truly begun my presidential duties this month. Plenty of meetings and conversations to reflect on.

The last Sunday of January I had been invited to share at the Samoan Baptist Church in Wainuiomata. I was pretty nervous about this as I had no idea of size and make up of the congregation. I reworked my material into a simpler version in case I needed to be interpreted and prepared as well as I could for a cross cultural experience. And it was certainly that. And how I loved it. I so enjoyed the singing and prayers in another language. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand some of it. What mattered was that I was worshipping God in a cross cultural congregation. I realised how much I missed that. After worshipping God in Bengali for 40 years I have not adjusted well to using English. I felt God was blessing me in a special way during that Samoan service.

Then I had a couple of weeks holiday with my sister and her husband over from Australia. We went to Golden Bay for a week and had a wonderful time. We live in such a beautiful country. The highlight was the Farewell Spit tour out of Collingwood. This was an amazing experience, driving miles along the beach, seeing migratory birds on the shore and the odd seal sunning itself on the beach. The scope and beauty of God’s creation is beyond our imagination. I should not be surprised that so is his way of working in this world. That is who He is.

I had to fly up to Auckland from Nelson to attend the Assembly Council two day retreat. The people you have voted for on this council are amazing. They are so gifted and bring their unique perspectives to the table in all the discussions. You can be proud of them and confident that they will govern our movement in the grace of God. There is huge diversity in gender and ethnicity and almost an equal balance of lay folk and pastors.

Back to the Wellington region where I live and more conversations with the pastors here. Each one is unique and valuable in understanding the variety of people pastoring our churches. I have more in Wellington this coming week and then in Hawkes Bay and Manawatu.

I was up to Auckland again for the Mission Council retreat. It was lots of fun with all those from outside of Auckland staying together. We won’t ever forget the game of Pictionary - a great way to relax after a long day of meetings. Thanks Susan Barrett for that! The meetings were a great insight into the new ideas and plans for Arotahi. The influence of a younger generation is very evident.

A few days off doing administration and shopping before John and I drove back to Wellington. Good to catch up with family in Auckland too.

What a privilege to be in this role of president. I do appreciate the opportunities to meet with so many of our pastors and churches and begin to understand the diversity of our contexts. I love being a Baptist.

This coming month my schedule is fairly full so I’d appreciate prayer for energy and focus and safe travel around the country.

Here is another prayer I pray every day. It is adapted from Lectio 365.

"God of love, remove the calluses from my heart so that I may be moved.

Reveal the prejudices that cloud my vision so that I can see.

Shake the apathy from my soul so that I can pray, speak, and work for Your justice today.”

 

Photo credit: Robin Capper, Farewell Spit from Flickr.com Creative Commons, cropped.

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