Writing this article is my first act in my new role as President of the Baptist Churches of South Australia. Stepping into this role I am aware of the shoulders of those I stand who have gone before me. I have watched Karen lead with such integrity especially over the past year where both Covid and the huge task of searching for a replacement for Mike Mills in the role of Director of Ministries has taken so much of her time. There have been approximately 150 presidents of the association, the exact number dependant on whether you count those who have held the position more than once. Interestingly, the first president was the Rev H.L. Tuck whose Great Grandson (Bruce Tuck) is the treasurer at Christies Beach Baptist Church where I am in leadership. Rev Tuck was in bible college in London UK with the son of David McLaren (one of the early pioneers in South Australia) at the same time that Spurgeon was at the height of his ministry there. Another fellow student Rev. James Martin went on to become a revered leader of Collins St Baptist in Melbourne. Rev Tuck was also a friend of Silas Mead, founder of Flinders St Baptist at whose house he eventually died at the age of 59.
Reading the history of some of the founders of Baptist churches and mission here in South Australia, it would be hard to ignore the great personal cost there was to their ministry. Many lost wives and loved ones, could not afford life insurance (as in the case of Rev Tuck) and literally gave their lives to establish the vision God had given them for this wonderful land we call home. I am not sure what lies ahead for me in this role over the next two years but being an immigrant from the UK myself who also feels called to further God’s kingdom here in South Australia, I feel spurred on and encouraged by my predecessors. The challenges our association faces over the next season are different to those faced by Rev Tuck but if they are faced with the same convictions, bravery, resilience and reliance on God as our founders then we should have confidence that we can continue to build something future generations will be grateful for.