Additional Venues

Gymea, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Grafton, Tamworth, Mayfield & Dubbo

Special Assembly – 27 February 2021 

Dear Pastors, Church Secretaries and Administrators,

As was foreshadowed at our last Annual Assembly, a Special Assembly has been called for Saturday 27 February 2021.   The purpose of this Assembly is to the discuss and vote on motions that were presented by 5 member churches regarding ministers and churches who no longer support the foundational beliefs, objects and values of the Association.

A key concern of those presenting the motions is a scenario where a church or accredited/recognised minister no longer hold to the Association’s stated beliefs about marriage. A taskforce was convened to oversee the discussion process on Affiliation, Baptist Values and Same-Sex Marriage across our movement.  The taskforce report summarising the findings of this process was presented at our October 2020 Assembly.

Following further conversation and reflection, the 5 member churches have decided to make two amendments to the original motions that were tabled in September 2019, and to table the amended version of motion 3 without it going to vote at this Assembly.

Assembly Council are also tabling two additional clarifying motions for discussion.

The following documentation is now online here:

  1. The original explanation and motions as presented at the September 2019 Assembly 
  2. The Taskforce Report *(Please contact the Assembly Council Secretary for the password to the taskforce report document if required)
  3. A new document outlining the proposed amendments to these motions and the clarifying motions.
  4. UPDATE FRIDAY 26th FEB – Further amendment to Motion 1 available here and in documents below. 

As we prepare to gather together and discuss the matters at hand at our Special Assembly, please be in prayer that it be a time of thoughtful and God honouring discussion and that His Spirit is at work in and through us.

In Christ,

Jamie Long (Chair of Assembly Council)
Shelley Cattell (Secretary to Assembly Council) 

NB: The recent COVID-19 outbreaks have reminded us that we are living in unprecedented times and the rules around meeting together can change unexpectedly. For this reason, have allowed for up to 3 Sydney venues for this Special Assembly. While our preference is to have as many people as possible in the same room, this may not be possible. If restrictions on gatherings are eased, we endeavour to have one primary venue in Sydney, with an additional venue in Southern Sydney. We will keep you informed as plans progress. 

Dear Friends, 

Last Saturday almost 500 people representing 150 churches gathered from across NSW & ACT for our Special Assembly.  The main venue was Toongabbie Baptist Church, with additional venues in Gymea, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Mayfield and Grafton.  Viewing by livestream was also available. 

The purpose of the Assembly was to discuss and vote on motions presented to Assembly by 5 members churches in 2019, which were left ‘on the table’ pending a process of discussion and discernment across our movement. 

Various amendments to the motions were received both prior to the Special Assembly and during the Assembly itself.  Following a time of lengthy discussion, the following two motions were passed.  Both of these motions were amended versions of the original Motions 1 & 2 presented by the 5 member churches.  

Motion 1: With Regard to Churches 
That Assembly affirm in principle that continued support for the basic doctrines, objects and core values of the Association should be an ongoing requirement for Affiliation, and request that the Assembly Council bring to a future Assembly recommendations on:  

  1. Any Constitutional amendments necessary to make that explicit, 
  2. A process for churches to give periodic reaffirmation of the basic doctrines, objects, and core values (no less frequently than 5 yearly), and  
  3. A suitable process to apply Section 17.5 (a) of the Constitution in circumstances where a church no longer meets such requirements.  

Motion 2: With Regard to Churches 
Assembly affirms that accredited ministers are required to subscribe to the basic doctrines, objects and values of the Association as defined in the Constitution and requests that Assembly Council bring to the next Ordinary Assembly a proposal to require annual confirmation of this as part of Continuing Ministerial Development.  

Assembly Council will now progress these matters and continue to communicate with you in the times ahead. Our next Ordinary Assembly is in September this year.

It was noted informally that Assembly Council would consider the situation of Recognised Ministers in the light of Motion 2 and bring forward appropriate recommendations for Recognised Ministers as well. 

The Council also communicated to Assembly on Saturday its sense that the following matters discussed in the Taskforce Report on Affiliation, Baptist Values and Same Sex Marriage require further reflection and equipping across our movement: 

  1. The place and function of our Core Value statements and how we live them out, 
  2. Exploring and equipping on what it means to graciously an effectively live out a ‘welcoming and not affirming’ position in our community life, as a flow-on from our ongoing commitment to marriage as defined in our values, and 
  3. Ongoing exploration and equipping in the area of Baptist Distinctives. 

Assembly Council will begin to take all of the above matters forward at its meeting this month and will communicate further over the coming weeks and months.  Please be in prayer for the Council in this. 

We recognise that people across our churches will be processing and thinking through these matters, which weigh on many who hold the vision of our Association and our gospel witness closely.   

We also recognise that these matters are particularly personal (and therefore impacting) for some people.  We encourage anyone in our churches for whom this is the case to seek appropriate support from the pastors/leaders at your church.  If you are an Accredited or Recognised minister, please access support through your established mentor/supervisor relationships.  You can also speak with Sid Grindley (the Association’s Pastoral Support Coordinator) or one of the ministry leaders in our Baptist Association team. 

Please join us in praying for our movement at this time, that we continue to humbly recognise God’s leading and seek His will as we move forward together.  

In Christ, 

Jamie Long, Assembly Council Chair & Steve Bartlett, Director of Ministries

Information for the day (please view these videos)

Our Assembly Chair, Rev Jamie Long, has prepared two short videos outlining the purpose of our Assembly, the process that has led us to this point and what our time together will look like.

The first video can be viewed here. It outlines:

  • The motions that will be discussed on the day from 5 member churches.
  • The two clarifying motions that Assembly Council have tabled, which will be brought forward for voting if the motions from the 5 member churches are carried.

The second video can be viewed here. It outlines:

  • Our Constitutional requirements and the process we will follow in conducting our Special Assembly.
  • The importance of time management and procedures for proposing amendments and voting.


The Special Assembly will commence at 9:30am at all venues, with sign-in available from 8:30am.

$0 including morning tea.
Please BYO lunch – lunch will not be available at any of the venues.

Visit here by Saturday 20 February 2021 for voting church delegates and alternate delegates and  Saturday 27 February 2021 for all other members of Assembly and attendees. Please ensure your church voting delegates are confirmed by your Church Secretary in writing to the Association.   

We strongly encourage you to register before the day as we cannot guarantee you a seat at any of the venues with the current COVID-19 restrictions without preregistration. If you have already registered and would prefer to change venues with additional Sydney venues becoming available, please email our Events Coordinator here.

Our 2021 Special Assembly will be livestreamed for those unable to attend an Assembly venue in person. Please note that voting and interaction is not available via the livestream.

Toongabbie Baptist Church
300 attendees maximum 

WHEN:  Saturday 27 February 2021, 9.30am (sign in available from 8:30am)   


Gymea Baptist Church
80 attendees maximum

Wagga Wagga Baptist Church   
71 attendees maximum  

Dubbo Baptist Church  
80 attendees maximum 

The Hub Grafton Baptist Church
34 attendees maximum  

Mayfield Baptist Church 
66 attendees maximum 

Canberra Baptist Church 
45 attendees maximum 

Tamworth Baptist Church 
100 attendees maximum  

8:30am: Assembly registration opens (Main Sydney venue only)
9:00am: Additional Venue registration opens (All additional venues)
9:30am: Assembly commences
1:00pm: Assembly concludes
** More details coming soon**
Please note: The program is subject to change without notice.

Registration Instructions
The Constitution of the Association of Baptist Churches of NSW/ACT requires us to collect your name, address, phone number and email address. If you DO NOT provide this information in the registration form, you will not be eligible to vote at Assembly.

According to the Constitution, an affiliated church may appoint two delegates (voting church representatives) plus an additional delegate for each 50 members or portion of 50 church members after the first 50. This is in addition to any Accredited Ministers or Non-Accredited Lead Pastors registering from a church. The Church Secretary is required to notify the Association of those who have been appointed by the Church to act as voting church representatives.

Voting Church Representatives and Alternate Voting Church Representatives MUST register by midnight Saturday, 20 February 2021 to be eligible to vote. This is a requirement of the Constitution. All other attendees can register on the day, however we encourage you to register early to secure your seat. Due to limited capacities we cannot guarantee that seats will be available for you if turn up on the day without having registered prior.

You will be asked in the registration process to indicate your Assembly registration type. Unsure of your voting rights? See the below definitions:

  • Accredited Minister: Accredited ministers of the Baptist Association of NSW/ACT are automatic members of Assembly.
  • Non-Accredited Lead Pastors: Lead pastors of Baptist churches who are not accredited by the Association are automatically members of Assembly and entitled to vote.
  • Church Representative (Voting): Any person who attends a Baptist Church is welcome to attend Assembly and has been nominated by the local church to vote if necessary.
  • Church Representative (Alternate): Any person who attends a Baptist Church is welcome to attend Assembly and has been nominated to replace a voting church representative if necessary. They do not automatically have voting rights.
  • Church Representative (Non-Voting): Any person who attends a Baptist Church is welcome to attend Assembly but do not have voting rights.
  • Morling College Council / Assembly Council: All members of Morling College Council and the Assembly Council are automatic members of Assembly.
  • Global Interaction Cross Cultural Ministry Workers: Cross cultural ministry workers attached to Global Interaction are automatic members of Assembly.


Ensuring the health and safely of all attendees and complying with ongoing COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions remain high priorities. We have put in place a number of precautionary measures:

  • The Association has put in place a Covid Safe Plan for the Special Assembly.
  • Capacities and seating will being managed as per the physical distancing requirements currently in place (1.5m between individuals & 2 sqm per person).
  • Individuals from the same household will be permitted to sit next to one another.
  • Hand sanitiser will be readily available.
  • All required attendee information will be collated should contract tracing need to occur.


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