Showing posts from May, 2012

Remembering Sam Sharpe

This week is a significant one for us Baptists, as we remember the life and death of the Rt Excellent Samuel Sharpe. His story is one that has been often overlooked, and in the lists of great leaders and great Baptists he's often missing. In part, his absence is due to the violence that flowed from the uprising he is most associated with. But mainly it's because of ignorance; his is a story that seldom gets told. A well-educated Baptist deacon, Samuel Sharpe knew his scripture, and could see for himself the equality of all people, and how, in Christ, that divisions of slave and free, male and female, black and white become irrelevant as God joins all people together in one new humanity. Sharpe was legally a slave all of his life, but his heart was that of a free man, righteously angry at the sin and violence of slavery. On Christmas day 1831 he organised a general strike, in the belief that the British government had ended slavery and that plantation owners were now a

Baptists Assembly thoughts part 1

So, this year it was London (next year, back to Blackpool) for the annual gathering of Baptist Union and BMS World Mission folks. In London specifically to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Baptist church in England, established close to the site of Spitalfields Market. The format for the Assembly was quite different. Firstly, the timescale; it's usually been Friday afternoon until Monday Lunchtime. This year it was Friday through to Sunday early evening. And in the place where there are usually larger gatherings for celebration and business on the Saturday daytime, 15 day conferences were on offer instead, on a wide variety of subjects. Add into this the backdrop against which this Assembly was meeting - the need to review the funding, structures and staffing levels of the BUGB family - and it made for a very different kind of gathering. So, did it work? Well, on some levels I am sure that it did. The pressure of a shortened scheduled forced an innovation that had