The BUC Orientation Seminar has just come to a close, having taken place over the past six days at the British Union office, Stanborough Park, Watford. The six-day event began on Sabbath 15 January and ended on Thursday 20 January.
The attendees this year had the privilege of being hosted by the former Ministerial Association Secretary, now BUC President, Pastor Eglan Brooks, with significant assistance by Pastors Samuel Ouadjo (South England Conference) and Michael Simpson, (North England Conference) Ministerial Secretaries.
Each year, the latest cohort of new ministers, ministerial interns, ministers returning to the field receive an invitation to attend this event to receive orientation training relevant to their job. It enables them to spend time in a seminar setting, obtain up-to-date information about how the church works in each region, and understand their expectations. The aim of the BUC seminar is to equip ministers, be they intern, senior ministers changing fields or new ministers being employed in the BUC, with confidence to pursue their calling. It was also meant to provide some practical guidance to help them carry out their job efficiently, and inform them of "best practices" in their role as a pastor.
In addition to the learning, the event also allows the Union and Conference/Division presenters to get better acquainted with the ministers. Topics covered by the various departmental directors included: Personal Health, the Sermonic Year and Worship Services, Balancing Work and Home Life, Publishing Ministries, Church Policy, Youth Ministries and Evangelism.
David Mano, Intern Pastor at the Welsh Mission commented that, "As a new intern to ministry, orientation is a blessing in the form of experience sharing between senior and intern pastors. It is filled with beneficial and powerful ideas, reflective thoughts and practical resources. Above all, a blessing from God."
One other happy result of this programme is that the pastors spend time socialising in the evening activities and at mealtimes. Therefore, they develop a friendship and support group that they can lean on in challenging times and celebrate in the good times. Church members sometimes forget that our pastors need nurturing and support with their own concerns and challenges. Since some of these ministers are generally early on in their pastoral journeys, this peer group can be a crucial outlet for them.
Sharing after the final day of meetings, Pastor Juljan Kastrati, NEC Area 2 Coordinator said, "What a breath of fresh air this training was for me. The programme was comprehensive and, best of all, 21st-century relevant. I leave this place more inspired, better equipped and blessed with more friends and colleagues in ministry. Kudos to the BUC for providing this much-needed resource pack and for their kind hospitality."
A Portuguese man, a Brit, and an Italian walk into the room and meet an Albanian, a Mauritian, a Dominican, an Indian, two Brazilians, a Pakistani, a Romanian, an Indian and another Brit. These were the different nationalities represented this week amongst the ministers and interns already serving in the North and South England Conferences and the Irish and Welsh Missions. There was no joke or punchline, but now the intern pastors have more tools to equip them. We pray that their ministerial journeys will definitely result in a happy ending by God's grace.
Natalie Davison, Department Secretary for the BUC Ministerial Association.