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Values Statement Commentary
We strive to be:
Radically Christ-centred, proactively inclusive, empowering with justice;
dissenting yet faithful, thoughtful and reflective, relevant and outward looking;
diverse yet focussed, courageous and loving, hospitable and generous;
imaginative and risk-taking.
The Values Statement gives voice to the deep convictions that underlie our church. These are the product of generations of faithful witness at Bloomsbury. We recognise that all values are imperfectly enacted, so in obedience to Jesus’ command to ‘strive for God’s kingdom’ (Luke 12.31), we commit ourselves to working together to bring these values into being in our lives and in our church.
Our values fall into three broad areas: faith, inclusion, and justice, and the first line of our values statement expresses these three. Baptists are the heirs of the sixteenth century ‘Radical Reformation’ where the Anabaptists rejected the authority of the state-church tradition and formed communities focussed around encountering Jesus by his Spirit through the words of scripture; so when we say that our faith is radically Christ-centred we are intentionally putting our commitment to Jesus at the heart of everything that we do and are. Bloomsbury’s commitment to inclusion is longstanding, and we strive to offer a proactively inclusive welcome to all whatever their sexuality, gender, physical ability, mental health, ethnicity, economic status, or age. Our approach to issues of injustice is one of empowering with justice, where we avoid cycles of dependency by engaging the individual, and challenging the systems that disempower.
The second line of the Values Statement expresses more about our faith commitment. Baptists are known as ‘dissenters’ because they locate the authority to discern the mind of Christ within the local congregation. Bloomsbury stands in this dissenting tradition, yet does so with a commitment to faithfulness to both God and other Christians. Our spirituality is thoughtful, encouraging honest questioning and intelligent engagement, and it is also reflective, expressing emotional and intellectual integrity in our worship and discipleship. Our faith is also relevant and outward looking, and we seek to live out the vision of the founding minister that ‘The Bible and The Times newspaper are the best materials for the preacher’ (William Brock).
The third line focusses on our community life together, recognising that our commitment to inclusion means that we will be a diverse community. Our commitment is that we will model unity through diversity, and so we are focussed on Christ as the one who calls us into relationship. This requires us to be both courageous in some of our actions, and loving in the way we exercise that courage. The values of hospitality and generosity keep us open to all, and liberal in our commitment to God’s love for all.
Bloomsbury has never been a ‘traditional’ local church, and in its mission to London and the world it has always been both imaginative and risk-taking. These values give energy and purpose to our life together in our time.