The Baptist Family
From early days, English Baptist churches organised themselves into geographical Associations. For reasons of history (we were originally the daughter church of a church in Sheffield), we are part of the Yorkshire Baptist Association [ www.yba.org.uk ] The Association primarily has a supportive role and provides a framework for churches across the region to work together and offer mutual support.
At a national level, we belong to the Baptist Union of Great Britain [ www.baptist.org.uk ] (the BU), which has its offices in Didcot, Oxfordshire. It offers support to the churches in the areas of communications, mission, ministry, faith and unity, trusteeship, finance and legal matters.
We take seriously the need for churches to support each other financially, and we do this through the Home Mission Fund, which is a national arrangement by which small churches can be enabled to have the services of an ordained minister and new ventures can be encouraged.
BMS World Mission [ www.bmsworldmission.org ] is the national organisation through which we channel our concern for the the mission of Christ in the wider world. In particular, we have a link with Mike and Daveen Wilson, who work in the arid north east of Brazil. Mike is an agricultural specialist and has done much to improve the material lot of very impoverished communities in the area. Daveen has specialised in social development work and has been active in supporting local Christians in the development of a network of Christian communities in the area.
The Baptist community is one of the largest Christian groupings in the world and most Baptists look to the Baptist World Alliance [ www.bwanet.org ] as a focal point for their common life. The BWA has over 200 national conventions in membership and over 100 Million people belong to BWA-affiliated fellowships.
Links with other Christian communities
As Jesus approached his death by crucifixion, he prayed for his disciples (John 17). A powerful strand of his prayer was that they should be “one”. Down the years, Christians have not always taken that desire for the unity of the church very seriously, but the twentieth century did see a renewed effort across many denominations to work it out in the life of local churches. Over the years, Christians have differed over many issues and we have learned that unity does not mean uniformity. Rather, we are called to celebrate our diversity and discover the way in which we can experience God’s love working to bring us together.
The local expression of all this is Churches Together in Dronfield and District [www.dronfieldtogether.org.uk ] based on a covenant to which all the local churches committed themselves in 1990.We provided the first secretary and chair and have been very committed to its work and witness over the years. We rejoice to see Christians working together with a sense that we are in our unity “the church of Christ in this place”. Within our own fellowship there are many who have joined us from other parts of the Christian church and their experience enriches our worship and shared life. Whatever our differences, what we have in common is a commitment to the Jesus who is Lord.
Other Evangelical Christians
Despite some differences about matters such as church order and baptism, those who think of themselves as Evangelical Christians have much in common. They are to be found in all the major Protestant denominations and it is natural they wish to network together across denominational boundaries. To this end, DBC is a member church of the Evangelical Alliance [ www.eauk.org ] and subscribes to its Basis of Faith.