Converge is an annual gathering of Australian Baptist representatives in Canberra to advocate on issues close to the heart of our movement and the represent the 1000+ churches nationally.
This year, nearly 40 Australian Baptists from across Australia gathered for two days of lobbying and advocacy. Nicholas Alexander (Lifeway Devonport), Stephen Baxter (Mission Director & Hobart Baptist pastor) and I, Anthea Maynard (Team leader Launceston City Baptist) attended as delegates through the support and generosity of Tas Baptists.
The key objective was to elevate the ongoing and protracted crisis in Myanmar as a priority. We were asking for action from our elected representatives. Groups of four delegates from different locations met with members of parliament to introduce the situation. They then presented three asks and shared a personal story by a person from Myanmar. With more than 20,000 Baptists from Myanmar in Australia, this is an important opportunity to support them. As well, we advocated as part of a wider, ecumenical effort (with the Catholic and Uniting Churches).
Our campaign “We Must Not Forget About Myanmar” has postcards outlining the three asks to Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs. These postcards will be available through Baptist World Aid and Australian Baptist Ministries (see below). We hope that 20,000 printed postcards will end up on the desk of the Foreign Minister.
With different humanitarian crises happening around the world, the emergency for the people of Myanmar has fallen off the radar of the international community. This is our opportunity to make a difference. The United Nations Humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths recently said, ‘successive crises in Myanmar have left one third of the population in need of humanitarian aid’.
Justice beyond ourselves
This was my first experience of Converge. It was a unique opportunity to work alongside Australian Baptist representatives from diverse roles and locations to highlight the needs and recent experiences of the people of Myanmar. It is my prayer awareness and support will grow, along with members of parliament noticing Christians advocating for issues justice beyond ourselves.
In my group, there were two delegates from the Myanmar Baptist community. Sui, from Perth WA, has recently graduated from nursing. She arrived in Australia as a refugee with her mother at the age of eight. Sui shared of her recent trip to some refugee camps on the Indian border. Sui encountered stories from elderly ladies who had fled their villages due to airstrikes. This year, airstrikes have increased dramatically in Myanmar to a current total of 289. Stronger, focused sanctions are needed to limit the capacity of the Junta to trade.
Biak was the other delegate, from Coffs Harbour NSW. She shared how her mother’s and father’s villages were burned to the ground in September this year. This was very distressing for her and her extended family.
The overall response by parliamentary representatives was engaging and positive. The Myanmar delegates were encouraged, and grateful to raise their voice with other Australian Baptists.
First and foremost, I seek to listen and learn what God’s people in Tasmania are experiencing as they step out in mission – across the street and around the world! I’m also honoured to be sharing in church gatherings each Sunday across May and attending pastor gatherings and association events throughout the month.
I would also hope to visit with anyone interested in intercultural mission (local and global) or curious about the work of Baptist Mission Australia as we adapt our organisation to a rapidly changing world mission context.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with a phone call, text or email to arrange a time with me. I will be in the North West 30th April-10th May. Then around Launceston 10th May to 22nd May. And will finish my time in the South of the state from 22nd May to 29th May.
Following conversations with Tasmanian Baptist leaders, engagement with churches and our own discernment processes, we sense God’s Spirit encouraging us to make ourselves available to journey with Tasmanian Baptists on your missional reimagination journey.
A call for prayer via Australian Baptist Ministries
The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent aerial bombing of civilian villages in Pazikyi, Kanbalu of Sagaing region in Myanmar, which resulted in the deaths of over 100 innocent civilians.
This attack is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.
As members of the Baptist World Alliance, who stand for justice, peace, and respect for human dignity, we are deeply saddened at this heinous act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their loved ones, homes and belongings in this inhumane attack.
We ask our member conventions and churches to pray for the people of Myanmar during these difficult times and to stand in solidarity with them as they seek justice and peace.
There is so much going on at Longford! To find out more, or to attend/participate in any of these ministries please check their website (riverlands.org.au), call 6391 2202, or email email@example.com. Office hours are 9am-12pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
10-11am Mondays and Tuesdays, Libraries Tasmania, Adult Literacy – during school term)
11am-12pm Mondays, Prayer Group
10am-12pm Tuesdays, Threads of Friendship
5.30-9pm Tuesdays Young Adults Group – off site
10am-12pm Wednesdays, Bible Small Group
9.30-11.30 am Thursdays, Stay & Play – during school terms
3-5pm Thursdays, Girls Youth Group – during school terms
11.30am-1.30pm. Thursdays, Bible Discovery Group
7-8.30pm Thursdays, Bible Small Group – fortnightly, off-site
10.30am-12pm Fridays, Neighbours – fortnightly
7-9.pm Fridays, Riverlands Youth group – 3rd Friday of each month, during school terms
11am-1pm Fridays, Meals on Wheels – operate Monday-Friday each week
Grief Companion Training
Do you know people who are grieving? Would you like to learn how to support them? You could attend this seminar, being run by New Mornings at Ulverstone Baptist.
WHEN 9:30am-430pm, Saturdays 20th May AND 3rd June 2023 COST Day 1 only – $75 (Conc. $55) ) | Days 1 + 2 – $120 (Conc. $85) WHERE Ulverstone Baptist Church Hall, 60 Alexandra Road, Ulverstone, 7315 INFO Contact New Mornings: firstname.lastname@example.org | 03 6411 6212 OR download the flyer:
More than ever, the people of Myanmar need to know that others stand with them. They need to know they are not forgotten.
Two years on from a military coup, Myanmar is rocked by violence, oppression and instability. The economy has collapsed, there are severe shortages of food, fuel and other basic supplies. Families are forced to separate, churches continue to be damaged. Pastors have been arrested. The military continue to ignore basic human rights.
Since the coup, more than 3000 people have been killed and 16,000 people detained. Almost 1.6 million people are displaced within Myanmar and 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar live in refugee camps on the Thai and Indian borders and within other towns in Thailand and India.
Please invite your faith community in sacrificially giving to ourStand with Myanmar appeal, so that together we can make a tangible and practical difference in the lives of people who continue to live with trauma and uncertainty.
What’s Going on – City Baptist
City Baptist Church in Launceston has people, as well as activities that people can connect with relationally.
Street chaplain (Stephen Avery), coming alongside those in need on our streets
Housing provided for refugees (Ivan James)
The homeless and those fleeing Family and Domestic Violence (Kay Hunter)
Climate activism (Sally Staley, Wendy Miller and friends)
Drop in Centre in the Red Dove Café 6pm-7pm Saturdays, 52 weeks per year (Jeff McKinnon).
City Baptist Community Garden – 69 Station Rd, St Leonards (Steve and Marie Pearce)
Learning Circle (hosted by Garry Billing and Jeff McKinnon) for those wanting to grow in discipleship, spirituality and mission (three-week sessions)
Young adult dinners with Jenna Blackwell
Friday Frolics – Intergenerational social outing on last Friday of the month (Merelyn Briton)
Friday/Saturday 5th/6th May, Newstead Baptist (NB new venue!)
The May Assembly is coming up very fast! All Tasmanian Baptist churches are eligible to have at least two voting delegates in attendance, plus pastors and Tas Baptist Council Members. As well, interested individuals are welcome to attend. However, all attendees do need to register.
Assembly papers will be sent to Church Secretaries via email on Thursday 6th April.
Payments and registrations will be due to the Tasmanian Baptist office by Monday 5th May 2023. As well as the regular registration process, we are trialing an online payment/registration system. So watch out for that!
This Changes Everythingis an Easter series that’s ready to go. There are message outlines that you can take, leave or adapt. But the bonus is the artwork for promoting and inviting, easily editable to include your church details. All free, because Crossover is here to help you share Jesus.
Ally & Sally is the shortest soap opera you’ve ever seen! 3x 1-min episodes you can show in church, or embed in your weekly email, or both. Each episode can stand alone, but the story builds – and twists – with a positive encouragement to share our great news. Perfect for showing right before promoting the Easter Offering in the three weeks leading up to Easter!