Baptists head to Bournemouth for 400th anniversary

By agency reporter
April 28, 2009

Baptist Christians will be heading to Bournemouth this Friday (1 May) to celebrate 400 years in Europe.

2009 marks the 400th anniversary since the establishment of the first ever Baptist congregation in the world, founded in Amsterdam in 1609.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) and BMS World Mission, a Baptist-based global mission organisation, will be focusing on the anniversary as part of their annual Baptist Assembly being held at the Bournemouth International Centre, Dorset, from Friday 1 May to Monday 4 May. A Europe-wide celebration will be held in Amsterdam in July.

Speakers at the Assembly will include Baroness Caroline Cox, bestselling writer Adrian Plass and General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, Neville Callam.

Andy Duncan, who is a member of a Baptist church in Croydon and also Chief Executive of Channel 4, will be coming to speak on 'God and the media - an unholy alliance'.

The Rev Kingsley Appiagyei, who has founded the two largest Baptist churches in the Baptist Union of Great Britain, will become President of the Union for 2009/10 at the event.

The theme of the Assembly is ‘Who do you think we are?’ The Rev David Kerrigan, General Director of BMS World Mission, feels this is an important time for Baptists to question their identity.

“It is not every year we celebrate 400 years of Baptist witness – this will be a special year and a special Assembly. The theme of Baptist identity is not only about looking back. It is important to explore this as we look to our future as Baptists, both here in the UK and around the world.”

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