Our Baptist identity
What does it mean to be a Baptist church?
Baptists are a mainstream Christian movement, serving alongside other church traditions (trinitarian), such as Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal...
40 million people around the world belong to Baptist churches.
In England and Wales, there are are 2,000+ Baptist churches.
So, we're part of a very big family!
Each Baptist church, is responsible for it's own decisions, finances, buildings, appointments, and ethos. Whilst legally we are all independent, we think of ourselves as being interdependent - growing community, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
What's distinct about Baptists?
The Church is not so much a building, rather a growing community of believers, committed to Christ, to one another and to the service of God in the world.
In this Baptist community everybody is equal, for everybody has a part to play in the service of God. There is no hierarchy of bishops or priests exercising authority over their members. We serve and minister together.
Church Members are those who have committed together to live as devoted followers of Christ, and to play their part in the church’s mission and ministry. For information about becoming a church member, click here.
Deacons (leadership team) are Church Members elected by the Church Meeting to serve and enable the church‘s mission and ministry. They are also our Charity Trustees and so responsible for governance. 'Deacon' comes from the Ancient Greek word for 'servant'.
The Church Meeting is is where Church Members come together to discern the mind of Christ – God’s will, not or own. It involves prayer, prophecy, listening, and discernment. It’s not meant to be primarily a business meeting.
Authority ultimately rests with the Church Meeting, not with the Deacons, Minister or a ‘bishop’. We are ‘congregational’ and champion the ‘priesthood of all believers’ [1 Peter 2:5]. Practically, the Church Meeting delegates to the Deacons and Minister.
Declaration of Principle
Our belonging to the wider Baptist Union is shaped by the historic Declaration of Principle, which states:
That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each Church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws.
That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who 'died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again the third day'.
That it is the duty of every disciple to bear personal witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelisation of the world.