Refugee medical doctor receives human rights award

Human Rights Award recipient, Cynthia Maung, 2nd right, with, from left, BWA President Paul Msiza, Regina Claas, chair, Awards Committee and General Secretary Neville Callam

Cynthia Maung, a medical doctor who has spent nearly 30 years treating refugees who fled “oppression and repression in Myanmar,” was presented with the 2017 Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award during the global organization’s Annual Gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, in early July.

Maung was hailed as a “woman of faith” who “draws heavily on her Baptist heritage,” committing herself “selflessly to the welfare of the poor and oppressed.”

Originally from the town of Moulmein in Myanmar (Burma), Maung fled her homeland along with thousands of other Karen refugees. In 1989 she, along with six volunteers, established the Mae Tao Medical Clinic in a dilapidated building in Mae Sot, which lies on the border of Myanmar and Thailand.


The clinic, which has since moved to a more secure location, has grown to more than 600 staff treating up to 150,000 patients per year, including locals, migrant workers and refugees.

Maung and her staff helped to bring a malaria epidemic under control and treat outbreaks of pneumonia and other diseases. They tend to trauma victims of gunshots and landmines and offer maternity care and HIV counseling.

In addition to its medical services, where it trains medical interns, nurses and hygienists, the clinic addresses issues of domestic violence and human rights, and feeds more than 500 people twice each day.

Maung garnered a global network of more than 50 supporters, such as churches, NGOs, international organizations, educational institutions and individual donors.

She had previously received the Jonathan Mann Award, sponsored by Swiss and US health organizations, in 1999; Southeast Asia’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2002; the Sydney Peace Prize in 2013; and the South Korean POSCO TJ Park Prize in 2015. She was named one of Time magazine’s Asian Heroes in 2003.

Maung actively participates in the Kawthloolei Karen Baptist Churches and Asia Pacific Baptist Federation women’s work.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 5, 2017

Elijah Brown nominated for general secretary

American Elijah Brown, originally from the state of Texas, is being nominated to be the next general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance.

Neville Callam, a Jamaican, retires from that position in December after more than 10 years of service.

Brown was formally approved by the BWA Executive Committee in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, July 4, and his name will be presented to the General Council on Friday, July 7, for a final vote.

Brown, 36, has had a decade of involvement in the international umbrella organization for Baptists, starting in 2007 when he was named one of 35 global emerging leaders by the BWA. He is currently BWA regional secretary for North America and general secretary for the North American Baptist Fellowship.

He is a member of the BWA General Council; the Constitution and Bylaws Committee; the Nominations Committee; the Congress Committee; and the Mission, Evangelism and Justice Advisory Committee. He is vice chair of the BWA Commission on Religious Liberty and is a member of the Commission on Theological Education.

Brown serves substantively as executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Christian human rights organization with offices in Falls Church, Virginia, in the US. Prior to that, he was associate professor of Religion at East Texas Baptist University, where he was founding director of the Freedom Center.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas with a double major in religion and history and a PhD in Divinity with a focus on World Christianity from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Brown’s specialty lies in human rights and religious liberty. His dissertation focused on issues related to world Christianity, including mission and church growth, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and the interaction of religion and politics. He helped to launch the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and became its executive vice president.

He has conducted research on, led training events in and done human rights advocacy work in South Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Iraq, Nepal and other countries. He has submitted reports to the United Nations and the US Department of State, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and several foundations and groups.

Brown is married to Amy and is father to Hudson, Sahara and Keziah.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 4, 2017

Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer

Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer is observed on Sunday, June 11.

Planned by the Baptist World Alliance Youth Department, young people around the world are encouraged to plan services that reflect upon the importance of prayer and to intercede on behalf of others.

It is a time to celebrate the unity that Baptists and other Christians share as believers in Jesus Christ and to seek a deeper relationship with Christ.

The day and its observance  provides an opportunity for persons  to contribute to the Annual Prayer Offering, used in leadership development and to assist mission projects involving young people around the world.

This 2017 theme, “Prophetic Action,” is based on the Singapore Declaration, which calls Baptist young people to commit to live as “G.O.S.P.E.L.” people.

Five Bible studies were developed, based on Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

The studies are intended not just for the Day of Prayer, but to be used during the course of the year.

Materials are available on the BWA website.

Contact may be made by writing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Donations to the Annual Prayer Offering may be made by visiting

Baptist World Alliance®
©June 7, 2017


Baptists gather in Thailand

Approximately 300 Baptist leaders, pastors, theologians, seminary presidents, professors and interested Baptists from almost 50 countries are traveling to Bangkok, Thailand, for worship, fellowship, study and decision meetings.

The Annual Gathering of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) takes place July 2-7 and will include meetings of the General Council and the Executive Committee, the two governing bodies of the BWA.

A highlight of the week will be the election of a new general secretary for the BWA who will succeed Neville Callam, who retires in December after more than 10 years of service in that position. 

A dinner will be held in Callam’s honor on Thursday, July 6, in addition to a special event to be held in the state of Virginia in the United States in October. The Callam Unity Fund has been established to strengthen the bonds of oneness and unity among Baptists and beyond.

Callam’s newest book, From Fragmentation to Wholeness: Race, Ethnicity, and Communion, published by Judson Press, will be made available during the Annual Gathering.

The 2017 Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award will be presented to medical doctor Cynthia Maung who has devoted nearly 30 years to providing healthcare to refugees from Myanmar living on the country’s border with Thailand. Maung was among the displaced Karen who fled Myanmar and settled in Mae Sot on the border between the two countries.

In addition to committee meetings, commissions will host presentations on a wide array of subjects in theology, mission and evangelism. Internationally recognized Baptist scholar, Anthony R. Cross, will be the presenter at a special forum on baptism.

Other subjects to be covered by commissions are Spiritual and Moral Formation of Christians, Contextualization of Theological Education and Constructing a Spirituality for the Dislocated, among others.

Justice issues related to human rights, religious freedom, social oppression, poverty, gender, the environment and other areas of concern will also be explored, such as How to Create Environmental Awareness Among Churches, Reframing our Relationship to Creation and Understanding the Global Issue of Modern Slavery.

A crisis management and communication training seminar will explore how to conduct a threat assessment and the basic principles to be applied in the event of a crisis.

A special welcome event is being planned by Thai Baptists.

Baptist World Alliance®
©June 28, 2017

Callam book to be launched


Judson Press, the publishing arm of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, will publish the latest book by Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam.

From Fragmentation to Wholeness: Race, Ethnicity, and Communion, is being launched in July in time for the BWA Annual Gathering, held July 2-7 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The book examines the impact that race and ethnicity have on divisions in the church. It shows how the Lord’s Supper provides a rationale for overcoming such divisions. The shared identity of Christians through fellowship in the body of Christ opens doors for unity and inclusion in the Christian community.

Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, said the book “is an urgently needed volume of profound reflection on the untapped power of Holy Communion as a force for reconciliation, healing and wholeness in the church and community.”

Haggray, a member of the BWA General Council and the BWA Human Resources Committee, stated that “rarely in recent Baptist life has a global leader of Callam’s distinction and intellect blended this peculiar caliber of theological, pastoral, ecumenical and activist reflection into such an informative, compelling and accessible treatise. The church now has a fascinating new resource to accelerate our mission reach into the world.”

Callam, a Jamaican, was elected general secretary and chief executive officer of the BWA in Accra, Ghana, in July 2007. He was the first Black person and the first person who is neither an American nor European to hold the position in the international global organization for Baptists, founded in 1905.

He retires in December 2017.

Callam’s previous books include Pursuing Unity and Defending Rights: The Baptist World Alliance at Work and Deciding Responsibly: Moral Dimensions Of Human Action.

The book will be available at the BWA Annual Gathering in Bangkok.

For further information, contact Linda Johnson-LeBlanc, Marketing Director, Judson Press, 610-768-2458, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baptist World Alliance®
©May 18, 2017