Category Archives: Events

Reviews of events we’ve been to or been involved with.

Community Day & Book Launch 2022

On Wednesday 23rd March we joined together at Westbury Baptist Church for our Community Day, and celebrated the book launch of “The Story of Bristol Baptist College”. It was fantastic to meet in person after being unable to meet for the past few years.

If you were unable to join us, you can catch up with the recording on YouTube. The order of service can be found below, although sadly we are not yet able to provide drinks through a screen so you will need to provide your own refreshments!

On the day, old friends became reacquainted and new Ministers-in-Training were welcomed into the community. We gave thanks for and remembered those of the community no longer with us. In particular we remembered former Principal John Morgan-Wynne, and Anthony Cross, who had been working with Ruth Gouldbourne on the release of the book on our college history. As joy and sorrow mingled, we were reminded of the importance of community.

Steve Finamore (College Principal) provided an update of news in the college and the community, including staffing changes. Peter Hatton stepped down from his role as Biblical Studies tutor, and Helen Paynter joined the college full-time as a tutor and to oversee Academic Studies; she also leads the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence. As Helen stepped away from our community learning programme, the college recruited Lindsay Caplen to lead the course (EMD). Fran Brealey retired from her role as College Manager after 13 years (although remains with us for 1 day a week), and Sophie Atkinson was promoted from College Administrator to fill this role. Abi Reid joined the team to fill the gap of College Administrator. Lis Pearce stepped down as our chaplain, a position that was initially filled by Eleanor Moffat. Eleanor became the tutor for a new Ministerial Formation hub in Exeter so left the chaplaincy role, which was filled by Sam King, who we were delighted to welcome to the team. Michael Docker stepped down from chair of Council, and has served tremendously; the role has been filled by Ruth Bottoms. All in all, there has been a lot of change and we continue to keep our eyes looking forward to God’s vision for the college.

This was followed by the book launch, which felt bittersweet in many ways with the passing of Anthony. We all knew that it would have brought him great joy to see the finished book. Helen read some words from his wife Jackie for the occasion. Ruth took us through the process of compiling the book and we are very grateful.

The excellent David Bebbington presented his keynote address regarding the history of the Bristol Baptist College, in particular: “The Significance of Bristol Baptist College”.

It was then time for lunch; the weather was glorious and it was a great time to connect with past fellow students and colleagues.

Nigel Wright next shared his keynote address “Theology and ministerial formation in the Bristol Baptist traditions” for food for thought. You can read a transcript of his address, including references and bibliography, here.

A panel Q&A followed, featuring: Ruth Gouldbourne, David Bebbington, Nigel Wright, and Steve Finamore (chair). Questions presented were related to: shifting culture to value theological training; how to teach evangelical/biblical theology to congregations that are used to learning through soundbites; is it helpful to have to have an ‘academic’ qualification to measure theology or is this a hinderance?

After a final refreshments break, we entered a communion service, presided over by Chris Ellis via Zoom (unfortunately he was unable to join us in person). Brian Haymes preached, challenging and encouraging us to remember and reflect on the vows made in our lives. Ruth Bottoms led the prayers, bringing to mind those in conflict and those displaced, bringing them before God with the peace that Jesus taught. We took communion and joined together in worship with a song written by Chris Ellis, to the tune of ‘Ebenezer’. After one final worship song, Steve concluded the service with a prayer.

What a fantastic day together! If you missed it or want to re-live it you can find the recording on YouTube.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, “The Story of Bristol Baptist College”, please email Abi Reid at and an invoice will be sent to you . The books are £15 each plus P+P (usually £18.35 total).

10.00               Welcome      Steve Finamore
                                                                and Worship led by Rob Howlett

10.20               College Community News          Steve Finamore

10.35               Book Launch           Steve Finamore & Ruth Gouldbourne

11.15               Tea/Coffee

11.45               Keynote address    David Bebbington

12.30               Lunch

1.30                    Keynote address    Nigel Wright

2.15                    Panel Q&A   Ruth Gouldbourne, David Bebbington, Nigel Wright and                                   Steve Finamore (Chair)

2.45                    Tea/Coffee                 

3.05                  Communion

Presiding: Chris Ellis
Preacher: Brian Haymes
Prayers: Ruth Bottoms
Music: Rob Howlett and band

1600                 Close

Community Day 2022

Bristol Baptist College is delighted to invite you to attend Community Day 2022 where we will be celebrating over 300 years of training people for ministry in Bristol.

Join us as we hear from Revd Dr Nigel Wright and Professor David Bebbington, along with the launch of the College History, introduced by Revd Dr Ruth Goldbourne. Former college Principals Revd Dr Chris Ellis and Revd Dr Brian Haymes will also be taking part.

Community Day 2022 will take place on Wednesday 23rd March, 9.30am – 4.00pm at Westbury-On-Trym Baptist Church, Reedley Rd, BS9 3TE. Lunch will be provided.

If you would like to attend please email for a booking form.

Events in 2019

I know it’s too early to talk about Christmas… so I’m just going to skip right past it and talk about 2019 instead! Here at Bristol Baptist College we have some exciting events coming up in 2019.

First of all we have an Open Day on Saturday 19th January. This is a great opportunity to come and visit us and find out what studying here is like. So if you’re interested in any of our courses, or if you know someone who might be, then book your place for the January Open Day and come along and meet us. We can’t wait to meet you!

Then we have our annual Heart and Minds day conference on Thursday 9th May. This is a great event for Baptist Ministers to come and present or listen to papers in a friendly supportive environment. The keynote speaker this year will be Stephen Holmes.

We’re also very excited to announce that our new study centre, the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence, will be holding its inaugural symposium on Monday 17th June. This will be a fascinating day where you can present or listen to papers, as well as hearing from the keynote speaker Prof James Crossley, Professor of Bible, Society and Politics at St Mary’s University Twickenham, and also enjoy the book launch of Revd Dr Helen Paynter’s new book: God of Violence Yesterday, God of Love Today? Wrestling Honestly with the Old Testament.

And that’s not even mentioning all the fantastic Prepare, Feed, Sustain modules which will be taking place throughout the year!

We hope to see you at one of our 2019 events!

Encouraging Faith, Engaging Faith: The theology and practice of all-age worship

Join us on 7th February for a day conference focusing on the theology and practice of intergenerational worship in the local church, exploring the challenges and opportunities to exercise ministry which effectively connects with all ages and stages. It is aimed to equip college ministerial students, those on the MA Mission and Ministry with Children, Families and Young People course, as well being an accessible day resource for all local church leaders and workers with 0-18 age groups. We hope the afternoon will be practical and include lots of ‘How to’ ideas to take away…

0915 Coffee/Tea available 0945 Morning Prayers (led by College Student)
1000 Session 1: Generations, Church and Mission David Hilborn
1115 Coffee/Tea
1145 Session 2: Generations, Church and Mission David Hilborn
1300 Lunch (sandwiches provided)
1400 Session 3: Children and Family approaches to worship Jane Butcher
1500 Coffee/Tea
1530 Session 4: Building faith in the Church, Community and Home Jane Butcher
1630 Close

Wednesday 7 February 2018
9.30am to 4.30pm

Little Stoke Baptist Church 37 Kingsway Little Stoke Bristol BS34 6JW
(0.5 mile from Patchway Train Station; Car Parking at Little Stoke Baptist Church is available)

(£7, to include sandwich lunch, coffee/tea)
To book your place contact: Tim Welch at Bristol Baptist College: 0117 946 7050 or email:

David Hilborn is Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham. Prior to taking up this role in 2012, he was Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College. He was Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance from 1997-2006 and an Associate Research Fellow of the London School of Theology between 2000 and 2012. He joined the Church of England in 2002 and was an assistant minister in two London parishes before returning to Nottingham to lead St John’s. In addition to his duties at the college, he currently serves on the ministry team of St Luke’s, Gamston.
David has written and edited several books, including Picking up the Pieces (Hodder), The Nature of Hell, One Body in Christ: The History and Significance of the Evangelical Alliance (with Ian Randall), ‘Toronto’ in Perspective, God and the Generations: Youth, Age and the Church Today (with Matt Bird), Movement for Change: Evangelicals and Social Transformation (all Paternoster) and The Atonement Debate (with Derek Tidball and Justin Thacker – Zondervan).
David enjoys cricket, rock, folk, film and poetry. He also loves New York City!
Jane Butcher works for Bible Reading Fellowship where she is the Children and Family Ministry team leader which incorporates Faith in Homes. She also oversees the Barnabas in Schools team and is a Messy Church regional co-ordinator. Having originally trained as a teacher, Jane later worked within Children and Family ministry in the USA and UK before joining BRF in 2007.
Her passion/desire is that people of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to experience the full richness of life and within that can understand how faith and daily life walk hand in hand through the joys and challenges.
Much of BRF’s work is supporting churches to engage with and support those in their church and community. As part of this work, Jane is involved with a variety of networks such as Children’s Ministry Network (formerly CGMC), Children Matter, Global Family Alliance, the Methodist Church and Church of England.
In her ‘spare’ time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, travelling and watching cookery programmes – dreaming of one day when her creations will look vaguely the same!

Come and join us!

School of Leadership

Coming up soon: School of Leadership

Come along to two exciting training days for anyone serving or moving into any form of leadership in the local church.

Speaker: Matt Frost, Minister, Cirencester Baptist Church

For further enquiries or to book your place, please contact: or call 01179 467 050

The training takes place at Cairns Road Baptist Church, Bristol, on 3rd and 24th February and costs £12.50 per day.

Hearts and Minds Conference 2018

Hearts and Minds is an annual day conference, sponsored by three Baptist Theological Colleges, which is designed to create a hospitable space for Baptists to think and talk about theology together.

This year, hearts and minds will be held at the South Wales Baptist College, 54 Richmond Road, Cardiff, CF24 3UR on Thursday 3rd May 2018, 9.30am – 4.00pm.

The day will cost £10. which includes refreshments and lunch.

To book your place, please contact Anita Monks by 19th April by emailing

Keynote Speaker
We look forward to welcoming Dr Kang-San Tan, General Director of BMS World Mission, as our keynote speaker. Prior to starting at BMS in October 2017, Kang-San was Executive Director of AsiaCMS. Heis the official spokesperson for the World Evangelical Alliance on interfaith issues and is a member of the Lausanne Theology Advisory Group. He is familiar with the UK scene having previously taught at Redcliffe College in Gloucester. He has a PhD in the Theology of Religions from Aberdeen University and his research interests include missional leadership, growing missional communities, Asian religions (Islam and Buddhism) and interfaith concerns. He is married to Loun-Ling and their daughter, Chara lives and works in Canada.

Short-paper Sessions
In addition to the keynote address, one of the attractions of hearts and minds is that it creates space for people to present papers about a range of theological topics. For some that means sharing part of the research that they are working on as part of a postgraduate course. For others, it means sharing their ideas about a topic which is of particular interest to them. During the short paper sessions, the idea is for a presentation of 15 to 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes open discussion. If you are interested in presenting such a paper at hearts and minds in May, please send a one page summary of the paper you would like to present to Dr Peter Stevenson at SWBC ( by Thursday 23rd March 2018 at the latest.

As car parking space at the College is very limited please use public transport where possible. The closest train station is Cardiff Queen Street. It’s also possible to walk from Cardiff Central station – but allow yourself 20 to 30 minutes for walking through town (depending on how quickly you walk!).

Coming Up Soon: Godly Play Taster Morning


This event is designed for those who wish to experience and reflect on Godly Play. It will be held within a Godly Play space and is an opportunity to experience a full Godly Play Session.

Godly Play
• Is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture
• Can be used in a variety of settings Churches, schools, hospitals, care homes for the elderly
• Is based on long established, tried and tested approaches
• Uses symbols and objects as well as words
• Values process, openness and discovery
• Encourages people to make meaning for themselves

The Heart of Godly Play
• Creating Sacred Space
• Building and working in community
• Learning religious language
• Using religious language to make meaning

• Welcome and Introductions
• Full Godly Play session – sacred story, wondering, response and feast
• Debrief – Q&A

Godly Play can help you see and do things differently!

Tyndale Baptist Church
Whiteladies Road
Bristol BS8 2QG

Saturday 23rd September, 9.30am – 11.30am.

Breakfast butties & drinks will be provided.

Suggested donation of £5.

To book your place please contact Sian Hancock or Alison Summerskill.

Hearts and Minds 2017

Bigger and better than last year, and with a new venue too. Hearts and Minds is a conference for Baptist Ministers where you will have an opportunity to present or listen to papers within a friendly, supportive environment.

This year’s keynote speaker will be David Kerrigan, General Director, BMS World Mission.

Hearts and Minds will take place on Tuesday 4th April, 2017, 9.30am- 4pm at Regent’s Park College, Oxford.

Cost: £10, to include refreshments and lunch

To offer a paper, contact Anthony Clarke by 13th March:

To book your place, please contact Sharon Merry by 20th March:

It’s sure to be an exciting day and we hope to see you there!

Incarnational Living

After 25 years of urban mission in Melbourne and Bangkok, Ash Barker with wife Anji and son Aiden are now immersed in the life of Winson Green, Birmingham, where they have founded and lead Newbigin House. Ash was the founding director of Urban Neighbours of Hope, and is the current director of Micah Global’s International Society for Urban Mission. Ash recently visited Bristol Baptist College and led a session where he reflected on the questions: what have you learned about the nature of incarnational missional communities through your time in Bangkok? How might these insights both shape and challenge our approach to mission in a city like Bristol? Have a look at some of the highlights in the video below.

Upcoming Event – Whitley Lecture 2017


Dan Taylor was a leading eighteenth-century evangelical General Baptist minister who was founder of the New Connexion of General Baptists. This lecture provides new light on his theology and asks questions about the origins of evangelicalism and the way it was shaped by the values of the Enlightenment. Taylor was an innovator, a thinker and a pioneer, and worth our attention when contemplating the missional challenges of the 21st century.

Led by Rev Dr Richard T. Pollard – Minister & Team Leader, Fishponds Baptist Church, Bristol

Held at Bristol Baptist College on 7th February 2017 at 7.30pm, with light refreshments from 7pm.

For more information or to book your place please email