Our yearly assembly of like-minded Reformed Baptist churches was once again a blessing. In fact, I would say it was the most encouraging of them all, but then, I say that every year. What sets this years' assembly apart was the vision for the future, and the encouraging news from the churches.
Locally, Grimsby Bible Church, a church plant of Trinity Baptist Church in Burlington, Ontario, has officially flown on its' own. Grace Fellowship Church in the West end of Toronto, has TWO potential church plants starting this year; one in downtown Toronto, another in Markham, Ontario. That's great news! We also heard from a representative of TBS, (Toronto Baptist Seminary), which is a solid Bible College and Seminary in downtown Toronto and is one of the few schools that is serious in its' study and commitment to the Word of God. They are renovating their residences and branching out by having satellite schools in other cities in Ontario.
Internally, there are plans for an improved magazine to teach and inform families within the SGF. In addition to the usual high quality articles, there will be a new format and many new features, including a childrens' section, reviews, updates from the churches, upcoming events, and international concerns.
Internationally, we heard from Carey Outreach Ministries. Several of our Pastors have travelled with them to Mongolia, India and the Philippines. They gave reports on how the Pastors who they teach are so grateful for the opportunity to learn in order to better teach their congregations. An interesting change in the way things are done, is that in India, they are taking two groups that would normally be a ministry in themselves (widows and orphans), and helping the widows minister to the orphans, as cooks, cleaners, housekeepers, teachers and moms. In this way, the women have dignity and work. We also heard from a young couple who are planning to go to Turkey as missionaries, and an American Pastor who is planning to go to teach missionaries at the TETM (To Every Tribe Mission) school. This group goes to unreached groups to preach the gospel.
The assembly was hosted this year by Bethesda Baptist Church in Delhi, and they gave us a warm welcome. We were well fed with three hearty meals and several coffee breaks. I must add that the singing was outstanding, even though there were more men than women. The preaching on Friday night by Brian Robinson from Scarborough (my home church), was uplifting as he helped us focus on our exalted Christ, so that we could remember that we are on the winning side, and not be overwhelmed by the apparent ascendancy of evil in our day.