1st June 2022

May 2022 Gathering – It’s a wrap!

Nourish – God’s invitation to flourish

On Friday, 20 May 2022, Baptist pastors and spouses from all over Victoria gathered together in person for Nourish!  Nourish is a day for all pastors and leaders to be enriched through messages, stories, fellowship, connections and of course, good food!

This year, the theme for Nourish was God’s Invitation to Flourish.  God did not design us merely to get along. We were created to flourish!  Yes, to live full and fruitful lives. Psalm 92 presents the promise that if we live rightly, we will flourish like healthy, beautiful, productive trees. God invites us to a life of genuine flourishing. 

It may sound like triumphalism and extreme optimism to talk of flourishing, especially after all that we have experienced in the past two years. Even those with great faith often experience life as a tumultuous journey. In reality our experience can be more like a dried up desert than a flourishing forest.  Yet, our God has a habit of helping deserts flourish and making a way where there seems no way. 

Rev Daniel Bullock started us off speaking on the theme of Flourishing Pastors. He started with a deep dive into definition of flourishing even going back to examine Aristotle’s definite of the human flourishing along with a historical perspective dating back to the 5th century. He then examined the theological meaning of flourishing based on the word, “Parach” and explored what it means to flourish in life according to the bible. To finish, Daniel reminded us that in order to have flourishing churches, we need flourishing pastors and provided the following questions to ponder:

·       Where are you planted (relationship to Jesus and neighbour)

·       Is it too late for me to flourish (mistakes, failure, age = dry bones can live again)

·       Can I flourish in the desert? (good news – God is in the business of helping deserts flourish)


In the second session, we heard from Rev David Devine, after which Rev Jonathan Stark led a panel of 3 pastors  – Rev Nathan Steer, Rev Mang Hre Sangkin and 2022 ordinand Joanne Dealy, who all spoke bravely and openly about their experiences of flourishing through hard or challenging times. 

Session three was an interactive session based on flourishing churches with all Nourish attendees participating in an exercise to discern the three things that are essential for our churches to flourish and what would actions would need to be taken.

See Discernment exercise results

We also had the opportunity to recognise those who have reached significant milestones in their years since ordination, most significantly Rev Dr Ken Manley celebrating 60 years since his ordination.

We heard from Pastor Ferenc Horvath about the situation in Ukraine and had the opportunity to pray together for Eastern European sisters and brothers. Sally Agostino led communion as the day concluded.

Nourish was also offered as an online ticket with approximately 12 pastors joining in from their various locations.

Nourish Slides

It was truly a wonderful day for everyone to gather again together in-person, worshipping, encouraging and being enriched by one another as they were encouraged to enter into God’s invitation to flourish. 


Following Nourish, a Professional Standards Workshop (PSW) panel was held on the topic of Respectful Relationships, being facilitated by of HR experts including Heather Coleman, Risk & Office Manager, NewHope Baptist Church, and Adam Foster, Principal Lawyer, Employment, Safety and Migration, Macpherson Kelly.



Members’ Dinner

In the evening, we moved to a new venue in Parkville, L’Unica Reception and Convention Centre for Members’ Dinner. Rev Daniel Bullock opened the evening with prayer and an acknowledgment to country followed by some of our BUV Pastors and staff leading worship together — it was a wonderful to hear a choir of voices from the floor sing their praises aloud in worship.

We continued the celebrations by welcoming the following new communities of faith to our Union who were presented with a certificate on stage:

Constituent Churches

  • Shalom Church of Melbourne
  • Melbourne Karenni Baptist Community Church Inc
  • Gospel Baptist Church Australia
  • Chin Baptist Church Pakenham

Faith Communities

  • Victorian Zokhuapeng Baptist Church
  • Australian Christian Baptist Church

Micro Churches

  • Aintree Micro Church
  • Grace and Glory

Merged Church

  • Frankston Community Baptist Church (Frankston Forest BC and Frankston BC)

It was wonderful to have 2 of our Baptist School Chaplains (1 apology due to COVID) with us to participate in a discussion facilitated by Rev Daniel Bullock on School Chaplaincy.  Rev Gerry Riviere from Carey Baptist Grammar School and Rev Janet Woodlock from Kilvington Grammar spoke to us about the daily challenges, joys and privilege of being a chaplain in a Baptist school and invited us to pray for them as they share the light and love of Jesus to so many school children that do not know Him.


After dinner, Daniel presented the BUV Support Hub Strategic Direction for 2022 along with the BUV’s Vision, mission and strategic focus areas and lenses and highlighted the major goals for each of the 4 major strategic focus areas

  1. MISSION – Foster a shared vision for mission
  • Development of new churches and communities of faith
  • Existing churches re-enenergized about mission
  • Equip churches in area of evangelism
  • Justice and Advocacy week
  1. LEADERSHIP – Develop the capacity of people to lead flourishing churches
  • Support and care for Pastors and leaders
  • Expansion of leadership training initiatives
  1. RELATIONSHIP – Support and collaboration among churches
  • Continue to encourage churches to think collaboratively
  1. HEALTH – Provide effective processes to support our churches to be flourishing
  • Flourishing Church Survey


The Assembly meeting section of the Dinner began with voting for the only appointment for the meeting, the reappointment of Debbie Uy as BUV Union Secretary which was passed, followed by a video presentation of the 2021 financials and 2022 budget overview by Debbie.

This was followed by a presentation by Paul Holdway, BUV’s Honorary Legal Advisor, on the proposed Constitutional amendments, which tabled a slide on the lengthy process undertaken for these changes.

Table discussion then took place followed by a time where questions were invited from the floor, answered by both Paul Holdway and Elizabeth Shalders.

We celebrated once again as we watched a video from the 9 wonderful pastors being ordained in 2022. You can view the Ordinands journeys here.


Andy McCulloch, Director of Global Partnerships at Baptist Mission Australia (formerly Global Interaction), joined us to chat with Daniel about their new name and direction.


Thank you to all who attended our Nourish and Members’ Dinner this May. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to gather together again in person and we are looking forward to see you at our next gathering on Friday 21st October.

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