BUC Induction and Residential Week

Together, We Will Go

BUC Induction and Residential Week

Sam O Davies, Communication and Media Director

Together, We Will Go

'Together, We Will Go', was the theme for the four-day induction and residential meetings for all British Union Conference (BUC) staff held at the Denham Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire on 24-27 January. The event, planned for a team-building exercise, incorporated a one-day leadership training for all staff, officers and directors from across the BUC, comprising the two Conferences of North and South England and the three Missions of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

Pastor Eglan Brooks, who welcomed the two groups of participants, said the aim of the residential was to bring our staff together to look at the challenges confronting us as an organisation how we can make a difference in how we function. Additional benefits of the residential week were to demonstrate the value we place in our staff, nurture team-building, and equip directors and office staff at the BUC to function more efficiently.  

The field directors from across the BUC, joined on Tuesday to participate in a leadership training event led by guest speakers from the General Conference (GC) and the Trans-European Division (TED).

Pastor Gary Krause, Director of Adventist Mission, GC, delivered a devotional and presented on 'God-centred and mission-driven Christian leadership'. He referred to Aristotle's rhetorical triangle of the three essential facets to any argument to illustrate the 'logos', or the purpose, of our logical argument. The second, which is 'pathos', represents the emotion and whether the content of the message touches the heart. Then finally, the 'ethos' is the speaker's character. Is the person making the argument credible? Are they somebody who we respect? Do they live what they are talking about? The ethos, he believes, is critical to the role of the leader. He says the three components make a compelling argument, and together, they have an impact. He said this is also true of our lives as leaders.

The other two presentations on the day included TED President, Raafat Kamal and TED Field Secretary, Ian Sweeney. Pastor Kamal focused on leadership by asking, is it a "vocation or a calling" or "a vocational calling?" He discussed the level of disconnect in the relationships at the various levels of the organisation to the local church. He shared that leadership that comes up with ideas but is not connected to the local church where the energy can be found shows a disconnect.

Pastor Sweeney engaged his audience on the issue of relationships, their potential for conflicts and their impact on our mission. He asked the rhetorical question, "Why can't we appreciate each other?" He shared that working together makes a real difference when we are willing to work together.

The rest of the team-building session of the residential for BUC staff was structured to accommodate the spiritual, work-life balance, and fun chores for light moments. The devotional guest speaker, Dr Gifford Rhamie, used an audience engagement method for his daily presentations to draw a conversation around his messages. He focused on the book of Acts and the theme of 'common' people and our willingness to desire the will of God to be common. He pointed out that we cannot impact them until we desire to be with the people where they are and want to speak their language. His emphasis on the 'common' throughout his presentations resonated so well that BUC's name became 'The British Union Common'.

Cathy and her husband,  Dr Des Boldeau, engaged staff on the topic of work-life balance and how we manage them. Their practical presentation focused on successfully juggling the multiple inevitable tasks of life, our responsibilities to God, family, church, community, and self. Commenting on this presentation, Pastor Brooks said, "we must confess that we have been guilty of breaking that work-life balance." He adds, "because we are passionate about the mission and want to do that calling, we destroy our relationship with everybody so that we can fulfil the work."

Former BUC President Pastor Ian Sweeney and Associate Executive Secretary Pastor Jacques Venter, his very able assistant, Mrs Kerrine Guthrie, and BUC President Pastor Eglan Brooks worked on planning this induction week. 

The main event organiser, Pastor Venter, said the aim was to bring the office staff together to do something different and to nurture a spirit of togetherness at the workplace.

The team had opportunities to share knowledge about themselves and their families during the four-day programme. There were trivial games, competitions to complete a complex 500-piece jigsaw puzzle by a team of six, quizzes, all of which were interactive. Then the serious matters of policy were also shared. Pastor Venter delivered an orientation to policies to ensure 'best practice' in the BUC office.

As she reflected on the event, Michelle Bahadur-Barham from the treasury team said, "It was an excellent way to start the year by attempting to build camaraderie between new staff members and current office staff."

Kevin Johns, BUC Youth Director, said, "I found the staff residential to be quite refreshing and relaxing with enough variety to keep us engaged without being overwhelming, and the opportunity to get to know each other a lot better! Our thoughts were challenged, and I left feeling positive and looking forward to the work ahead."

The residential also permitted the BUC staff to share a farewell meal with Pastor Ian Sweeney for his service to the Union for the past ten years. His former administrative secretary, Mrs Jacquei Johnson, presented a gift on behalf of the Officers and staff as Pastor Brooks acknowledged his contributions to the BUC with a word of thanks. Pastor Sweeney has moved on to serve as Field Secretary of the Trans-European Division.