31st May 2023

May 2023 Gathering wrap

On Friday 26th May, the BUV Support Hub hosted our May Gathering, beginning the day with 180 pastors gathering together at NewHope Baptist Church in Blackburn North for Nourish, a day of encouragement, fellowship and connection. 

After being welcomed by Rev Jonathan Stark and a rousing worship segment led by our ‘BUV’ band, Rev Daniel Bullock introduced the theme of ‘Becoming more like Jesus’.  

In the second session, Rev Beth Jackson, BUV’s Head of Ordination, then demonstrated that becoming more like Jesus is a biblical call. This was followed by a beautiful reflective music and video performance. 

After morning tea, Rev Troy Arnott led Session 3 titled Journey to Christlikeness, where he asked Pastors to individually consider what becoming more like Jesus practically looks like. Following this each table discussed questions such as What stops you from becoming more like Jesus? Which of the practices (saying no, saying yes, cultivating proximity) do you most resonate with?  Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were just starting out?  

Before lunch, Rev Cameron Healey, spoke about Creating space for Fruitfulness, after which all participants wrote one thing down on a post-it note that they felt God was calling them to do to become more like Jesus – these were stuck to mirrors around the room.

A long lunch break always provides a most appreciated time for pastors to catch up with each other. 

A highlight of the day was the celebration of milestone Ordination Anniversaries, including 11 Pastors in attendance who had been ordained for 50, 55, 60 and 65 years – a wonderful achievement and a goal to aspire to! 

Tables were encouraged to spend some time in prayer together for our union, our state, our brothers and sisters in war torn countries, before Rev Za Tuah (Nguri) Ngur, from Australia Zotung Baptist Church, led us in a beautiful time of communion.  The day concluded in worship to our God, as we sang together, ‘What a beautiful name’.  

Approximately 90 pastors participated in a Professional Standards Workshop following Nourish on the topic of ‘Addressing Domestic and Family Violence and Abuse and Building Relationally Healthy Communications’. 

Members’ Dinner was held in the evening at the Karralyka Centre in Ringwood, with nearly 300 people present.  Acting Chair, Mick Turnbull opened the evening with prayer, a bible reading from Romans and an Acknowledgement of Country before we celebrated the new faith communities, micro churches and campuses that have been welcomed into the Baptist Union since we gathered last in October. 

Our assembly meeting detailed the appointments and voting process for the evening after which Debbie Uy, Director of Finance and Administration provided an overview of the 2022 Financials and 2023 Budget. A QR code was provided on tables to access the 2022 Annual Report, which will be distributed to all churches in the coming weeks.  

Paul Holdway outlined a new Baptist Identity Taskforce which will be put together to look at the Principles and Ideals of Faith this year.  See Bulletin re details, regarding the Expressions of interest process. 

Rev Katrina Lambert, Whitley College Chair, updated the attendees on the resignation of Whitley College Principal, Rene Erwich, who will conclude in September, and the appointment of Interim Principal, Rev Darrell Jackson. 

Rev Daniel Bullock presented stories from our churches that demonstrate the BUV’s 2023 strategy in action in the wider BUV family. Three pastors were then invited to join Daniel to speak about their mission experiences in their particular contexts.  

Table discussion focussed on completing the discernment around the issues we began discussing at Consultation Forums earlier in the year: 1) Indigenous Voice to Parliament and 2) Evangelism in 21c Australia. Time was provided for feedback from the discussion time, Q&A and stories from churches.  

The evening closed with all ballots declared as passed and congratulations provided to the appointees below. 

All in all, it was another wonderful day of connection and encouragement – we look forward to being together again in October.  



  1. That Mick Turnbull be appointed as Chair of Union Council for three years commencing 26 May 2023.  PASSED 
  2. That Rev. Christine Wanstall be appointed as member of the Union Council to fill a casual vacancy commencing 26 May 2023 until Oct 2024.  PASSED 
  3. That Sally Mullins be appointed as member of the Union Council to fill a casual vacancy commencing 26 May 2023 until Oct 2024.  PASSED 


  1. That Rev. Katrina Lambert be appointed as member of the Whitley Council for 3 years commencing 26 May 2023. PASSED
  2. That Phil Batterham be appointed as member of the Whitley Council for 3 years commencing 26 May 2023. PASSED


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