Building a Bigger Table
Rev Hayley's presidential theme for 2022-2023 is Building a Bigger Table
As a Baptist Movement we have the opportunity to bring Jesus to our communities by expanding a table: providing the kind of hospitality that Jesus offers.
We have a challenge ahead of us about how we can create a bigger table: to welcome more people.
To spend time listening, learning, hearing, knowing and respecting everyone.
Covid 19 has made us stop, Rev Hayley is encouraging churches as they build back to gathered, physical worship to put hospitality at the very core and centre of all that we do. Choosing to favour people who are not like us as we go back to 'normal.'
The theme of 'building a bigger table' has been used by Christians and people of no faith to describe the act of making space for the other. Jeremy Martin uses it to describe how we can 'create a space to discuss life and faith'. This was then later developed by John Pavlovitz who challenges the church to be 'building messy, authentic and hopeful spiritual communities.'
The Podcaster Shaa Wasmund uses it to describe including people like her: 'a misfit, maverick and magic maker.'
Rev Hayley develops this further by encouraging our churches and missional communities to find ways of creating authentic community online; embracing our Baptist DNA of radical descent and enabling a culture where all generations are involved and heard
As a Baptist Movement we have a challenge ahead of us about how we relate to the culture around us and the digital world. Everything is changing at a fast rate. In the midst of this change, we have a generation that are already redefining the world in which they want to live.
As Baptists we have long held the view that the communion table is not our table but the Lords table, believing that all are welcome to the table where God speaks to us.
Believing we need to create the space in both the word we live in and the digital world we inhabit to build a bigger table as we pull up a chair: To be authentic, hopeful, compassionate, challenging and a Jesus focused community.