Former BWA vice president from Croatia has died

Branko Lovrec, a vice president of the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) from 2005 to 2010, died on September 28, in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. He was 79 years old.

Lovrec served the BWA in a number of other capacities, including as a member of the General Council, the Executive Committee, the Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation, and the Human Rights Award Committee.

Lovrec had deep Baptist roots. His grandfather, Vinko Vacek, was a founder of organized Baptist work in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians during the first half of the 20th century. He was editor of the official Baptist periodical beginning in the 1960s in Croatia, and was elected the first president of the Baptist Union of Croatia in 1991, serving until 2003, following Croatia's independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said that Lovrec had "made his mark on the international stage" and that his "contribution to Croatian Christianity was immense." While mourning the passing of the Croatian Baptist leader, Callam told Baptists in the Central European country that the BWA was "encouraged by the level of faithfulness and commitment to the cause of Christ that was so evident throughout his life."

Lovrec entered full time ministry in 1967 after having being trained and working in the field of medicine.  He was especially noted as a translator for visiting preachers to Croatia, including Billy Graham, and of the New Testament and other Christian literature.

He founded the publishing organization, Duhovna Stvarnost which, among other volumes, published The Handbook of the Bible and The Encyclopedia of the Bible in the Croatian language. In 1982 Duhovna Stvarnost published Knjiga o Kristu, the first Protestant New Testament translation in Croatian to gain acceptance among the wider public. During the last years of his life he worked on the translation and production of Our Daily Bread, booklets with daily devotionals.

He served as president of the Protestant Evangelical Council and its antecedent, the Association of Evangelical Ministers. He cofounded the Croatian Bible Society and was elected its president in 1995. Lovrec was also cofounder and long time president of the Executive Committee of the Society for Religious Freedom, and was a member of several other organizations.

In 1999 the Croatian government awarded Lovrec with the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the face of Katarina Zrinski for his contributions to health, social welfare and the promotion of moral values.

He is survived by wife, Mirjana, sons Matija and Andrija, and daughter, Iva.

Funeral services were held in Zagreb on October 3. A memorial service will be held on October 9 at the Zagreb Baptist Church where he served as deacon and elder.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 5, 2012