News and Views
Editors: Margaret Brown
and Wies Dikstra

Biannual newsletter of the European Baptist Women's Union
Winter Edition 2010-2011
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100 years young

The Scottish Baptist women‘s work began in 1909 when Mrs Yuille gained the approval of the Baptist Union of Scotland. This work took the formidable title of the Woman‘s Auxiliary to the Baptist Union of Scotland and was affectionately known as WA with the motto "By Love serve One Another".

Margaret Brown
It wasn‘t long before many churches saw the benefit of such an organisation which set out to organise women‘s work in the churches and community, promote the spread of the Gospel and assist the Baptist union in promoting any plans for the furtherance of the denomination. Space prohibits further history of the WA but stalwart God-fearing and God-honouring women of integrity and faith served the organisation well and gave a sterling example to those who would follow. In recent years there has been a decline in numbers but we are in good heart. Following a review of the women‘s work a number of years ago, the WA in 2001 gave birth to the Scottish Baptist Women‘s Fellow-ship (WF for short), taking as its motto "Serving God in Everything".

The photograph shows all the past presidents who attended the lunch plus the past and present General Secretaries and their wives – Bill & Vivienne Slack and Alan & Ruth Donaldson.

(click to enlarge)

At the present time the women are involved in various ministries across Scotland. Some are involved in church leadership, serving as deacons, church secretaries, church treasurers, pastoral assistants, while others are involved practically in Moth-ers & Toddlers, coffee mornings, lunch clubs, youth and children‘s work, alpha groups, visitation and support of the elderly and those who are ill, craft work etc. Others are involved within the community as street pastors, counsellors, assisting with vulnerable adults and those with mental health problems including addiction. There are also other areas where the women serve, too numerous to mention, suffice to say that on both spiritual and prac-tical levels they are using their gifts and abilities to serve the Lord, their local church and community as well as nationally.

From October 2009 – October 2010 the Scottish Baptist women have been celebrat-ing their birthday -100 years. Some groups celebrated individually within their own churches, others by coming together in area groups, both with a special programme to commemorate the founding of Baptist women‘s work, giving thanks for all that has gone before, while looking how best to proceed into the future. The gatherings, of course had a birthday cake, and often old photographs were displayed comparing the past with the present evoking fond memories for many.

The celebrations culminated on October 1st 2010 with a special Birthday Lunch held in the Bellshill Hilton Hotel, near Glasgow. It was a lovely day and we ate very well! Following the lunch several ladies shared one or two memories they had of WA and of what they hoped for the future. Both the past and present General Directors of the Baptist Union, Revs. Bill Slack and Alan Donaldson respectively ad-dressed the gathering and paid tribute to the work of the women within the denomination.

This photograph shows one of our longest surviving past presidents, Gwen McCallum cutting the cake with the then serving president, Fiona McConnachie.

(click to enlarge)


Bill spoke of how anything living has to change because that is how God is at work in His people. The truth never changes but God asks His people to change. In the context of hope and thanksgiving he encouraged the women to celebrate 100 years and take the work on into the future with the faithfulness of Ruth, the courage of Esther, the warm hospitality of Martha and the passion of Mary.

Alan asked the question "How are we doing?‘ He said he cared enough to hear the answer. Historically women have served to develop, to encourage etc.; he urged us to be a catalyst in the life of Scottish Baptists. Numbers are down, the existing groups are ageing, there are deficits financially. The answer to the question is painful, maybe threatening; weep for the decline but do not lose hope. There are opportunities which must be taken – future development to do mission, building on Christ, His kingdom, His Church; infiltrate the darkness with His light, being sent with the good news of Jesus to assist the family of churches. The women are the one group which still has good channels of communication within the denomination. Keep meeting, keep connecting.

As we listened we were encouraged to go into the future and to seek the guidance and direction of God on all and any future efforts on our part to "serve Him in everything."

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