Lebanese and French Baptists react to attacks

A crowd gathers in front of one of the scenes  affected by the events of November 13 in Paris (Photo byLaurent Pele)Baptists in both Lebanon and France reacted to attacks by the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in their countries that occurred a day apart from each other.

On November 12, two bombings took place in Bourj el-Barajneh, a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, killing more than 45 people and leaving more than 200 wounded

On the evening of November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, consisting of mass shootings, suicide bombings and hostage-taking occurred in Paris, the capital of France, and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. One hundred and thirty six people were killed in the attacks, including seven perpetrators, and some 430 injured.

Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development and a former vice president of the Baptist World Alliance, said Baptists in the Middle Eastern country “were deeply saddened by the recent attacks on Beirut and Paris.”

Costa stated that, “as the church, our mandate remains the same regardless of the circumstances. We strive to remain faithful and live Christ and reflect His practical love and such values as love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemy [and] pray for those who trespass against you.” He declared that “the darker the world, the brighter should be the Light of the Church.”

Marc Deroeux, general secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France (FEEBF), said his country, “where the state of emergency has been decreed, wakes up in pain, grief and bereavement.” The incidents, he said, were “beyond outrage, sadness and understanding.”

Deroeux encouraged French Baptists to provide practical and prayerful support to all those who are in need.

Rebecca Cuquemy, FEEBF assistant secretary general, said “we deeply appreciate the solidarity and prayers of our brothers and sisters from the Baptist World Alliance worldwide.”

Noting that terrorism “has no nationality,” Costa called on “the global church to join us in prayer for those families who have been directly affected by the recent attacks in Lebanon and in France, but also in other countries, too, where terrorists play havoc in the lives of innocent civilians.”

Baptist World Alliance®
© November 18, 2015


Sierra Leone declared Ebola free

Chlorinated water supplied by the BWA during the height of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone“It is with a great joy and praises to the Almighty God that Sierra Leone, on Saturday, 7 November, has been declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO) at a colorful ceremony at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Aberdeen, Freetown.”

It was with these joyful words that Samuel Conteh, coordinator of social ministries for the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone, wrote the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) in November 2015.

“WHO made this declaration after the country has gone through the 42 days incubation period without registering a case of Ebola. The declaration was made by WHO country representative Dr. Andres Nordstrom,” Conteh declared.

“Every district and most chiefdoms have had firsthand experience of this terrible disease. A total of 8,704 Sierra Leoneans were infected during the outbreak and we lost 3,589 of our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers and our sons and daughters. We lost 221 healthcare workers, including 11 doctors,” he elaborated.

“Please join us to remember all those who lost their lives and I pay special tribute to our healthcare workers and other Ebola Response Workers who made the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives as they tried to save the lives of others. May their souls rest in perfect peace.”

Conteh told the BWA that the work continues, including doubling citizens’ access to water, drastically reducing maternal and child mortality, creating sustainable jobs and reducing the size of overcrowded classrooms, in addition to a “comprehensive package of support for 4,051 Ebola survivors which will include free healthcare and psychosocial support.”

He extended thanks to the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the worldwide family of Baptists for their assistance and prayers. “We are very grateful for your support and may the grace of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ be with you all. My special thanks to you and your team for the wonderful job you did in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. I say bravo and thank you for your support.”

“We praise God and celebrate with you and the people of Sierra Leone for this wonderful news,” said Rothangliani Chhangte, director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid). “While we are saddened by the loss of so many lives, especially those in the medical profession who served their people so valiantly in the face of such a dreadful disease, we hope that the country will come out stronger and more united.”

Liberia, another country that was badly affected by the Ebola virus in 2014 into 2015, was declared Ebola free in May 2015. More than 9,550 Liberians were known to have contracted the disease with almost 4,300 having died as a result of the outbreak.

BWAid, the relief and development arm of the BWA, had extended significant assistance to both countries in the fight against Ebola.

Baptist World Alliance®
© November 16, 2015

Baptist delegate at Catholic synod calls for pastoral compassion

Roy Medley, fraternal delegate of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) at the recent Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome, urged the gathering “to emphasize the pastoral nature of the ministry which is entrusted to the whole church.”

Medley, who is chair of the BWA Commission on Interfaith Relations and the Membership Committee, as well as a member of the BWA General Council and Executive Committee, emphasized that “there is no perfect family and no perfect marriage.”

Rather, “in our broken world, families are not only a source of great blessing, they can also be a source of great harm as when a father molests his daughters, or brothers and sisters fight over inheritance. This is the pastoral reality: Families have their blessings and their dysfunctions.”

Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, said the world longs for, but rarely expects, the presence of Christ. “Instead they see us abandoning them in the midst of their greatest personal struggles because of their irregular situations.”  

Medley, who is also chair of the National Council of Churches USA, had joined the fraternal delegates to address the synod. These included representatives from the Orthodox, Methodist, Disciples of Christ and other Christian traditions.

The gathering, which convened from October 4-25, was in continuity with a similar synod in October 2014. It included Roman Catholic bishops from around the globe to discuss important issues facing families today.


BWA Women’s director to retire

Patsy Davis, executive director of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department (BWA WD), is set to retire effective December 31, 2015, after working in that position for 17 years.

“She has initiated many projects and the global Baptist Women’s Day of Prayer grew into a recognized ministry that connected Baptist women to each other both in prayer and practical support,” said Ksenija Magda, president of the BWA Women’s Department.

“She has been appreciated by many women on all continents and under her leadership, the Women’s Department became an example of an effective global ministry within the Baptist World Alliance.”

“God called me many years ago to work with women, and he has blessed me these 17 years to be a part of the BWA WD,” Davis stated.

“The Women’s Department of the BWA, and in particular the Executive Board of the WD, appreciate Patsy’s many years of faithful service to women globally,” Magda declared. The BWA Women’s president “wish[es] that God, our Lord and Father, may continue to bless her and her work in the future.”

Prior to taking up her position at the BWA in 1998, Davis was a Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary for 21 years, serving as general secretary of the National Woman’s Missionary Union of Venezuela. She succeeded the late Willene Pierce, who died in March 2014, and who resigned the BWA post in July 1997.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 30, 2015



Baptists release freedom and justice book

Engaging the Jubilee: Freedom and Justice Papers of the Baptist World Alliance (2010-2015), is now available for purchase.

The volume comprises papers by commission members of the Baptist World Alliance and guest presenters on issues of peace, human trafficking, gender equality, religious freedom, the environment and poverty, among others.

Authors and presenters are from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America, including past winners of BWA human rights awards, Lauran Bethell, Glen Stassen and Edgar Palacios.

Editors included Raimundo Barreto, former Baptist World Alliance (BWA) director of Freedom and Justice; Ken Sehested, founding director of Baptist Peace Fellowship; Luis Rivera-Pagan, former professor at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States; and Paul Hayes, senior pastor of Noank Baptist Church in Connecticut in the US.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam expressed “sincere appreciation for the faithfulness of Barreto in completing an assignment he began while he was on the BWA staff.”

Copies of Engaging the Jubilee may be obtained on Amazon.com.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 13, 2015