Dear Friends,

It is not often someone shaking the minister’s hand at the door of the church describes the service – excuse the language – as ‘kick-arse’! But that was the case on Sunday!

It was a powerful service – hearing from Karen Pack about the damage that is done when LGBTIQ+ people are told that the unconditional love of Jesus is actually conditional; and the healing that is done when they genuinely experience that love from others.

She quoted Hebrews 13:13 to us, “Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured,” and said that that is what we are doing! We are demonstrating our willingness to go outside the camp to stand with LGBTIQ+ people and in doing so, we are – literally – saving lives. Definitely, a kick-arse message! (If you missed it – check it out here – – and jump to the 28th minute for the message!)

One of the pictures that we didn’t get to show on Sunday was of Karen and Bronte’s wedding – so here it is. And if you want to read more of her story, that was highlighted by the 7:30 Report in April 2021, you can find it here –  

On Saturday, as many of you know, the process for (disaffiliating) churches and (disaccrediting) pastors was passed by the NSW/ACT Association: 84% in favour of the process for churches and 80% in favour of the process for pastors. And our two motions, the two motions brought by Canberra Baptist Church, to amend the Constitution in line with principles of good governance were defeated.

That was a hard day. We are deeply grieved by the decisions that the NSW/ACT Baptist Association has taken, over the past four years, to disaffiliate churches and disaccredit ministers who do not support the position on marriage (adopted 12 Nov 2022). This church has been part of the Association since our inception in 1929 and we remain committed to association with other Baptist Churches. We do not want to be disaffiliated.

On Saturday, Miriam Downey, as one of our delegates, expressed that grief in the meeting (you can read the speech she gave below).

However, as our church goals state, we continue (humbly and faithfully) to be led by the Spirit as we explore together what it means to follow Jesus today, build an inclusive, caring community; and share God’s love and justice in our words and actions – by going to Christ (and those who Christ loves) outside the camp and bearing the abuse they suffer.

Grace and peace be with you – as we share in this kick-arse ministry together!


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PPS Below is the text of Miriam’s speech to Assembly on Saturday.

My name is Miriam Downey, and I am a delegate from Canberra Baptist Church. I want to speak against the adoption of the Recommended Processes for Churches and Pastors.

We, as a church, are deeply saddened about the direction of these motions.

  1. We are grieved that with these processes our Association is abandoning our Baptist values of freedom of conscience, autonomy of the local church and the priesthood of all believers. For over 400 years these values have served us well. They have given our gospel witness, in particular contexts, life, grace, and power and helped us navigate difficult issues while maintaining our unity.
  1. So, secondly, we are grieved that these processes demonstrate that our Association is failing – we are failing as Christians – to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. We are deeply committed to Association – in supporting one another in mission and ministry. We do not want to see any church – that has not done anything wrong and that is committed to being Baptist – disaffiliated from our Association – or any minister. “We are better together,” we keep being told. We should work harder, then, at staying together!
  1. I am also, personally, grieved that these decisions will make it impossible for younger people – young adults – to hear the gospel in Baptist churches – that they will see our churches as intolerant and ignorant and abusive – rather than life-changing and life-giving.
  1. Most of all, however, we are deeply grieved about what this process says to people who are LGBTIQ+ or in de facto relationships or divorced – that, for these reasons, they are not genuinely welcome in the Body of Christ. This is simply not true! The good news of Jesus is for ALL people without qualification. We want ALL people to know that, and to find churches – Baptist churches – where they receive a genuine welcome, where they can use the gifts God has given them for ministry and where they can be ministered to in return.
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