The Atlantic Baptist Fellowship, the predecessor of the Canadian Association for Baptist Freedoms, was formed in 1971 by Baptist lay people and ministers who wanted to witness to historical Baptist principles and to be involved with non-Baptist communions in joint worship, social action and ecumenical discussions of the nature of the Church.

They wished to create a safe and welcoming environment in which Baptists could share all concerns and points of view without fear of being marginalized.

The CABF is a welcoming fellowship with the following objectives:

1. To witness to the freedom implicit in the voluntary principle in religion, which is a fundamental tenet of historic Baptist identity.

2. To affirm and celebrate Baptist participation in, and witness to, the whole visible, catholic and evangelical church of Jesus Christ; 

3. To promote peace and understanding amongst people of all faiths;

4. To provide a forum for the discussion of doctrinal and ethical questions, and social issues and policies in that spirit of tolerance and mutual respect which issues from Christian love;

5. To bear witness to these objectives with and among Baptists regionally as well as nationally and internationally;

6. To provide accreditation for ordained ministers and chaplains and for lay ministers

7. To provide support to member churches and to churches that are considering membership in the association;

8. To associate and co-operate with other like-minded organizations;

9. To acquire by way of grant, gift, purchase, bequest, devise or otherwise, real and personal property and to use and apply such property to the realization of the objectives of the Association;

10. To buy, own, hold, lease, mortgage, sell and convey such real and personal property as may be necessary or desirable in the carrying out of the objectives of the Association. Provided that:

- The Association shall not carry on any trade, industry, or business;

- All funds shall be used solely for the purposes of the Association and the promotion of its objectives;

- If the Association is terminated, wound up or dissolved and, after satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities, there remains any property whatsoever, the same shall be paid to some other charitable organization in Canada having objectives similar to those of the Association and which is a qualified donee within the meaning of subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act.

The activities of the Association are to be carried on in Canada. The Registered Office of the Association is located at First Baptist Church Halifax, 1300 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3Y8.

(Memorandum of Association)


In pursuit of its objectives, the CABF

  • Publishes a Bulletin three times a year, 
  • Maintains a website, a Facebook page, a YouTubechannel,
  • Develops and adopts policies for Licensing, Accrediting, Ordaining and disciplining pastoral leaders as appropriate, and
  • Meets semi-annually for worship, fellowship, and study of an issue of contemporary interest.

One of these meetings is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the other is the Rushton Lecture and Luncheon.

Annual General Meeting (Fall)

The Vincent Rushton Luncheon and Lecture (Spring)

ABF/CABF Presidents

1971 — Kendall Kenny 1992 — Ed Colquhoun
1972 — Jack Matthews 1994 — Elaine Anne MacGregor
1974 — Ed Colquhoun 1998 — Paul Burden
1976 — Dr. Reginald ("Reg") Dunn 2000 — Rev. John Boyd
1978 — Rev. Vincent Rushton 2003 — Rev. Sheila Redden-Smith
1979 — Rev. Willis Henderson 2004 — Rev. Andy Crowell
1980 — Rev. Don Jackson 2006 — Rev. Dave Ogilvie
1981 — Rev. John Boyd 2009 — Rev. Jeff White
1982 — Rev. Gordon Gower  2011 — Rev. Dr. J. Daniel Gibson
1984 — Rev. Robert Matthews 2013 — Rev. John Tonks
1986 — Gwendolyn Atherton 2017 — Lee Nicholas-Pattillo
1988 — Rev. Dr. Roger Prentice 2021 — Rev. Dr. Marlene Knowles
1990 — Rev. Byron Corkum