CABF CROSS-CANADA CONFERENCE 2023
Our goal was quite simple. . . to gather, to learn, to encourage and to bless one another! We truly believe we checked all the boxes! Twenty-five CABF clergy and layleaders gathered for 4-days of education, encouragement, reflection, laughter, and rejoicing in God’s goodness and grace. We had four teaching/speaking sessions:
--Rev. Dr. Jo-Ann Badley led us in two sessions on “Jacob, Lover of God and Neighbour.” We walked through Genesis 25-36 and re-visited the transformation of Jacob. We reflected on the question: “How is the love of one woven into the love of the other?” We also learned anew of how Jacob’s transformation informs our journeys of teaching, preaching and learning in faith.
--Dr. Randal Rauser (www.randalrauser.com) led us in a session called “Manifesto of a Progressive Baptist: Movements from fear to love, certainty to faith, victory to hope.” We were inspired to keep on reforming our faith and the church so that faith, hope and love might be put on display in a world where so many paradigms are creating places of ‘non-charity.’ Key verses for reflection included 1 John 4:18, 1 Corinthians 13:12 and Genesis 32:28.
--Andrea King and Luke Dowding (from www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk). The mission-vision statement for OneBodyOneFaith is as follows: OneBodyOneFaith is a dynamic grassroots charity that enables LGBT+ Christians and advocates for change within the church, ecumenically and intentionally in partnership with likeminded organisations. For many LGBT+ Christians places of Christian worship and community remain harmful and challenging. We are committed to stopping abuse through initiatives such as the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition; embracing positive change such as the advent of marriage equality in many traditions; and the transformation of church structures: our desire is for LGBT+ Christians to thrive, not just survive. Through their stories and personal testimony, Luke and Andrea encouraged and inspired us while at the same time offering us CABF Baptists an opportunity to explore a future of partnership that will unite/connect our churches both locally and globally.
Our conference also offered time for connecting, eating, sight-seeing and relaxation. What a joy to be among Baptists who are truly “kindred spirits.” Many of us commented on how the ethos of our conference was a place of mutual encouragement, broad theological banter and a hope for a future where big-hearted Baptists might continue to listen to and embody the Spirit’s wide, wide welcome as we follow Jesus for the good of the world! During our closing prayer, we reminded each other of one of the commitments from our CABF Covenant: “We will support and uphold one another in mutual respect and love, and remember one another in prayer.”
Next year, we’re hoping to gather for the 2nd Annual CABF Cross-Canada-Conference. The loca on is set for Halifax, N.S. and we are tenta vely planning for the la er half of October, 2024.
Grateful for these exciting days of connection and encouragement in the CABF and looking forward to God’s goodness and providence as we lean into the future.
Peace be with you!
Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato, FBC Edmonton
Rev. Dr. Rusty Edwards, FBC Halifax
Rev. Jeff White, FBC Amherst