Rod Robson, the Chair of Assembly Council, brings you this update from the recent Assembly Council meeting held last week (7 December 2023). 

Hi peeps, 

Your 2024 Assembly Council met for the first time last week. We began with a pōwhiri from Te Whāriki welcoming people to the Assembly Council table. Newbies include Allan Taylor (East Auckland; Vice-President), Greg Motu (Dannevirke), Sarah Beisly (Paeroa), Ravanetta Sititi (South Auckland), Rachelle Martin (Christchurch), Susan Osborne (Porirua; President). 

We have a breadth of experience, cultures, genders, generations, and geographic locations. As a council with a lot of new faces we need to get to know each other well. Since the meeting, the council has also had an informal gathering over zoom (we are spread from Auckland in the north to Christchurch in the south). 

The Assembly Council represents the Baptist movement of 240 churches at a governance level. We are your board, elected by delegates from our faith communities at the National Hui. The things we discuss are wide and varied, and the decisions we make are on your behalf as we together shape our future as Baptists in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

At our first meeting, we spent some time orientating ourselves to the structures of the Union. This time of ‘induction’ was especially helpful for new members and included an overview of core documents such as The Baptist Union of New Zealand Incorporation Act 1923, the Constitution, structure diagrams that show how all of our boards are linked, and even the Assembly Council Charter which guides how the council operates. It’s a lot to take in! 

At each meeting the council receives reports from senior leadership, such as the National Leader and the Operations and Finance Director, and from Carey Baptist College and Arotahi (our global missions organisation). We had an update from the National Hui ‘Big Bites’, the first step of which is creating a working group looking at Big Bite 3, a mechanism for keeping our people and places safe. The kōrero at National Hui is already shaping our future, with more to come in 2024. 

Some of the decisions that we made during the December meeting include things like confirming the date for the 2024 National Hui, which will be held from 7 – 9 November 2024 at Rangiora Baptist Church. We also discussed correspondence received by the council and what responses might be required from us. We made appointments to subgroups that are helping the council to oversee the welfare of the Union, such as the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee that ensures that risks across the movement are being identified and managed proactively. We value expert support. 

I’m looking forward to 2024. I think Assembly Council is in a strong position, alongside the National Leader and the many working groups and boards, to work toward the things we discussed together as a Baptist whānau at National Hui. We’ll see you all again at National Hui 2024 in Rangiora when we will gather again as a whānau to discuss some of this work. Until then, we will continue to meet as a council and work on your behalf as we shape our future. 

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