Honoring the Legacy of General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz

BWA General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz Passes Away at 80
BWA Calls Upon All Baptists to Honor His Legacy
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - April 23, 2019) Today Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz, General Secretary Emeritus of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and faithful servant of the LORD, died at his home in Forestdale, Massachusetts, USA, at the age of 80. The Baptist World Alliance calls upon all Baptists to remember and honor his legacy and to pray for his family.
Born in 1939 in Flushing, New York, USA, Lotz was the youngest of four sons raised by Rev. and Mrs. John Lotz. He often credited his heritage for influencing his ministry, stating that he inherited “a German brain from his father and an Italian heart from his mother.”
After graduating from Northpoint High School in 1956, Lotz attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. He then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1961-1963. During a portion of his service, he was stationed internationally in Okinawa, Japan, ultimately achieving the rank of second lieutenant.
After completing his military service, he attended Harvard Divinity School where he served as President of the Student Government from 1965-1966. He earned his sacred theology degree in 1966 as well as being ordained that same year at Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After completing his studies at Harvard, Lotz began his doctoral studies at the University of Hamburg in Germany, earning a Doctor of Theology in 1970.
1970 proved to be a wonderful year as it was also the year he married the love of his life – Janice Robinson from Ellisville, Mississippi. For the next ten years, they would serve as missionaries with the International Ministries Division of American Baptist Churches. During their missionary tenure, Lotz traveled extensively – often to countries under communist control – with a focus on lecturing, preaching, and serving as a diplomatic representative to government officials on questions of religious freedom and Baptist life.
During this time, Lotz also served as a professor of missions and homiletics at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, where he founded the Summer Institute of Theological Education (SITE) – a short-term, intensive theological program for Eastern European pastors and leaders.
While ministering in Europe, he often traveled alongside Gerhard Claas, who was serving at the time as General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation. When Claas was selected to be the next BWA General Secretary, he invited Lotz to be his deputy. Lotz joined the BWA staff in 1980 in the role of associate secretary, with responsibilities including oversight of the Division of Evangelism and Education as well as Relief and Development. He would later be appointed as Director of the BWA Youth Department as well.
After Claas suddenly passed away in a tragic automobile accident in 1988, Lotz was designated as Interim General Secretary. Shortly thereafter, the BWA Executive Committee voted to permanently appoint him, which was affirmed by the BWA General Council later that year.
During nearly two decades of service as General Secretary, Rev. Lotz served alongside five BWA presidents and 71 Vice Presidents as well as numerous commission chairs and staff members. He led preparations for four Baptist World Congresses with a cumulative attendance of 42,000 people from more than 100 countries. He oversaw 20 General Council meetings as well as 16 Annual Gatherings.
“He leaves a massive footprint in the history of the BWA,” said Rev. Dr. David Coffey, former Baptist World Alliance President (2005-2010). “He was a missionary theologian, an inspiring preacher and evangelist, a champion for religious liberty, a Baptist ambassador, a Christian statesman, and a brother unrivaled in his prodigious remembering of the names of hundreds of people and places.”
Among his many contributions to the BWA, Lotz helped launch the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE) in 1991, which was attended by Baptist educators from 52 countries. He was also instrumental in relocating the Baptist World Alliance office to its current facility in Falls Church, Virginia, USA, in 2001. In July 2005 at the BWA Centennial Congress in Birmingham, England, Lotz unveiled the Living Water initiative, a strategic plan designed to enlist and equip local Baptists for evangelism and servant leadership. Since its inception, Living Water events have taken place around the world from Cuba to Bangladesh with more than 4,500 registered delegates in attendance who have engaged in prayer, focused Bible study, evangelism, and leadership training.
In addition to his service as BWA General Secretary, Rev. Lotz was twice elected President of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), an organization chartered in 1893 to work with government and educational institutions to disseminate principles of religious liberty and human rights throughout the world. The IRLA tradition of rotating presidents every two years was broken with Lotz, who was re-elected an unprecedented four times.
Upon his re-election in 2002, then IRLA Secretary General John Graz said, “We are honored to have someone like Denton whose passion for religious freedom is demonstrated in his daily commitment to defend human rights for people everywhere.” Upon his retirement from the BWA, Graz wrote, “Thank you for your convictions, for your intelligent way of expressing your faith, and the values in which you believe without destroying bridges between yourself and others.”
His commitment to racial reconciliation was the catalyst for the formation of the BWA Special Commission on Baptists Against Racism and Ethnic Conflict, which resulted in the Harare Declaration in 1993 and the Decade for Racial Justice. Because of his tireless advocacy for human rights and religious freedom, the BWA named its annual human rights award in his honor, with ten individuals receiving the Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award since 2006.
His tireless effort and commitment were matched only by his love for people and unwavering optimism even in the face of great challenge.
“In whatever country he arrived, he was welcomed as someone who brought hope to Baptists wherever they were and in whatever situation they found themselves,” said Wendy Ryan, former BWA Communications Director. “There was never a time I traveled with him as part of a BWA team that I did not see him received with great joy.”
His ministry took him around the world from African villages to the Oval Office. His friendships included globally-recognized faith leaders like Rev. Billy Graham as well as leaders of state such as former United States President Jimmy Carter. Upon his retirement from the BWA in 2007, Graham wrote, “Your strong leadership and personal faith has been an inspiration and blessing to me.” Carter shared the following, “As I think of all the BWA has accomplished for Baptists around the world in the past twenty years, I know that your gifted leadership has helped to make it all possible. You have served a great organization with conviction and honor.”
After his “retirement,” Lotz continued to travel and preach in addition to serving as Senior Pastor of Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He also remained active in the life and ministry of the BWA, including providing encouragement to the organization’s newest leader.
“Denton Lotz was one of the most significant Baptist leaders of the second half of the twentieth century. His profound leadership touched countless lives around the world as he championed evangelism, religious freedom, and the ministry of the global Baptist family,” said Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, BWA General Secretary. “From my first individual meeting with Denton in 2007 until the present, he offered regular and meaningful encouragement and insight. To Janice and all of the Lotz family, I stand with you as does all of the Baptist World Alliance in mourning and in recognition of a life of incredible service. Thank you for sharing Denton with us. While today I feel a keen sense of loss in Denton’s passing, I believe his leadership and legacy will continue to shape and mold the Baptist World Alliance for years to come.”
Rev. Lotz is survived by his loving wife, Janice, their three children, and many grandchildren. A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday, April 26, at 12 p.m. at Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with a reception following. A live-streamed memorial service celebrating his life and legacy will also be hosted by the Baptist World Alliance at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia, USA. Details will be forthcoming.
Those wishing to share a tribute are invited to do so by visiting: http://bit.ly/honoringdenton
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BWA Responds to Cyclone Idai

Baptist World Alliance Responds to Cyclone Idai
Devastation Continues Across Southern Africa
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - March 29, 2019) Cyclone Idai, regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record, continues to cause devastation across southern Africa with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi the most significantly affected. In response to this disaster, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is seeking to support the Baptist conventions and unions in the impacted region as well as mobilizing disaster relief efforts through Baptist World Aid (BWAid) and the newly established Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD). BFAD's goal is to coordinate response efforts, create greater impact, and strengthen partnerships on the ground.
"We are working together to establish how best we can respond as the global Baptist body to the crisis caused by Cyclone Idai which has emerged across southern Africa. We will be working closely with the Baptist Convention of Mozambique and other Baptist agencies who are present in local communities to ensure a response that is best for everyone involved," said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. "At the heart of this response, we want to walk alongside people who are facing this crisis, grieving and vulnerable. We will be trusting God for wisdom, resources, and safety for all those involved."
Conway-Doel traveled to the region this week to assess specific needs, including a visit to the port city of Beira, Mozambique. Beira is home to Pastor Manuel Moises Quembo, General Secretary of the Baptist Convention of Mozambique.
"I live in Beira, the city that was most affected by the cyclone. We praise the Lord that our lives were spared," said Pastor Quembo. "After Cyclone Idai, many church buildings and pastors' houses were severely destroyed. The immediate needs are food and pure water followed by construction materials such as cement and zinc sheets for reconstruction. I thank you for your concern and willingness to support."
If you wish to financially support relief efforts, donations can be made securely online atBWANet.org/online-giving.
"It is during challenging times like this that we are reminded of both the responsibility and the privilege we have to bear one another's burdens," said Rev. Elijah M. Brown, BWA General Secretary. "I am grateful for the collaborative spirit among our brothers and sisters in Christ and the opportunity we have at the BWA to network Baptists to respond through prayer, aid, and support – not just today but in the years to come as these regions navigate the rebuilding process."
The BWA calls upon all BWA Baptists to join us in prayer about the following:
  • Over 650 people have died with the death toll likely to climb. Please pray for the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.
  • Multiple cholera cases have been discovered in Munhava, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the port city of Beira. Malaria is also on the rise, so please pray that these illnesses and others will not spread.
  • This will disrupt the harvest season, so impact on long-term livelihoods is significant. Please pray for the immediate needs of these families and for economic stability as they rebuild.
  • Pray for the churches in these regions – many whose buildings, members, and surrounding communities have been affected. Pray that they will be a witness to God's love and be equipped with the resources to restore what has been lost. 
  • Communication is still difficult. Communities and relief agencies are struggling to connect and remain in touch with friends and family in the affected areas. Please pray for efforts to restore the communication infrastructure as quickly as possible.
A prayer request list is available for download and distribution here.
Survivors clinging to buildings in the district of Buzi, Mozambique.
(Photo Credit / INGC)
The interior of a Baptist Church near Beira, Mozambique. The entire roof was ripped off by Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record.
(Photo Credit / Rachel Conway-Doel)
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

BWA named '2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit' by GreatNonprofits

For Immediate Release:

September 26, 2018


Award based on Outstanding Online Reviews

Falls Church, VA – The Baptist World Alliance announced today it has been named a “2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews of charities and nonprofits.

BWA unites the world’s Baptists in ministries of compassion, justice, theological education, unity and fellowship, mission and evangelism resulting in thousands of empowered churches working together across national and cultural divides more than a hundred countries around the world.

“We are honored to be named a 2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit,” says Dr. Elijah M. Brown, General Secretary of the BWA.  “We are proud of our accomplishments this year, including launching Horizons, an expanded effort to train youth and children’s church workers throughout our network.”

The Top-Rated Nonprofit Award is the based on the rating and number of reviews that Baptist World Alliance received from volunteers, donors and aid recipients.

“The Baptist World Alliance” is a great example of a nonprofit making a real difference in their community,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “Their award is well-deserved recognition not only of their work, but the tremendous support they receive, as shown by the many outstanding reviews they have received from people who have direct experience working with the BWA.”

“My involvement with Baptist World Alliance goes back almost thirty years,” says, Karen Bullock, a volunteer and commission leader, “in which time I have never been disappointed with its mission, its administration, its integrity, or its financial responsibility.” BWA subjects itself annually to an independent audit and publishes each final report to aid potential supporters in feeling confident of the organization’s commitment to its fiduciary responsibility.

GreatNonprofits is the leading website where people share stories about their personal experiences on more than 1.6 million charities and nonprofits. The GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Awards are the only awards for nonprofits determined by those who have direct experience with the charities – as donors, volunteers and recipients of aid.  

The Baptist World Alliance website has more information on its ministries at www.bwanet.org and a complete list of 2018 Top Rated Nonprofits can be found at: https://greatnonprofits.org/awards/browse/Campaign:Year2018/Issue:All/Page:1


About Baptist World Alliance
“Networking the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ.”

239 Member Organizations in 125 countries and territories. 169,000 churches and 49 million baptized believers.

About GreatNonprofits
GreatNonprofits is the leading site for donors and volunteers to find stories and ratings of nonprofits. Stories on the site influence 30 million donation decisions a year. Visit www.greatnonprofits.org for more information.

Media Contacts
Shannon Cowett


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Perla Ni

Great Nonprofits


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October 25, 2018
For more information, contact Shannon Cowett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE LAUNCHES EXPANDED HORIZONS PROGRAM - proven online training for children and youth church workers
Falls Church, VA - The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is expanding the HORIZONS Youth and Children's Worker Program to its worldwide network. HORIZONS is a program with a decade of proven success, with more than 500 people already having completed the course. Now, the BWA will bring it to all the world's Baptists.
HORIZONS is a free online training program that guides students through 24 modules in a self-paced program covering youth and children leadership topics. Each module takes about an hour to complete.
It was created out of a need felt by European Baptist Federation (EBF) leadership to discover the needs of youth workers. Throughout the years, with the support of Canadian Baptist Ministries, HORIZONS has strengthened the ministry of EBF across Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
"We are very excited to help this program expand its already impressive reach," said BWA General Secretary Elijah M. Brown. "With more than 50% of the world's Christians under age 30, this is one of our most important efforts, ever."
Youth ministry leaders can take this program in 12 languages - English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Norwegian, German, Serbian, Hungarian, and Portuguese. Online mentors who help interact and guide registered students are already available in 45 countries. To date, more than 12,000 modules have been completed.
Jeff Carter, who designed and implemented this program following his 2003 commission by EBF to conduct an intensive research study of the 54 nations within EBF, now comes to lead its expansion through the BWA. "The success of HORIZONS is really the impact of advocacy and encouragement of our locally trained mentors," Carter said. "These are experienced youth workers who provide the local context for material covered in the course."
Carter will serve at BWA as Director of HORIZONS and Congress Mobilization in partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries, where he previously ministered as Youth Ministry Training Coordinator and Advisor for the EBF. He will also be working with the BWA to encourage widespread participation in the upcoming BWA Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 22-26, 2020.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Carter held a post as a faculty lecturer at the International Baptist Theological Seminary where he developed youth leadership courses for the master's and certificate programs.
Though this program is being offered for free, each module costs approximately US$20 with 250 students already enrolled. Churches and individuals can sponsor student participation for
US$480 for the entire course. To help support this important initiative, visit
"We want every youth and children's worker to have access to this training," said General Secretary Brown, "and in places where seminary education is not available, this is going to make a critical difference for reaching the next generations."
To listen to Jeff Carter discuss HORIZONS in a podcast hosted by BWA's Division on Mission, Evangelism, and Justice, visit www.bwanet.org/programs/mej.
To learn more or to enroll in HORIZONS, please visit www.bwahorizons.org.
About Baptist World Alliance:
"Networking the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ."
239 Member Organizations in 125 countries and territories with 169,000 churches and 49 million baptized believers
Media Contacts:
Shannon Cowett
Baptist World Alliance
+1 (703) 790-8980
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Jeff Carter
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Baptist-Catholic International Dialogue

Baptist-Catholic International Dialogue Joint Commission Convenes in Rome
Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity 
Gather for Next Phase of Theological Conversations
(ROME, ITALY - December 21, 2018) Twenty participants from around the world gathered on December 10-14, 2018, for the second meeting in the third phase of the Baptist-Catholic International Dialogue, a series of strategic ecumenical conversations between the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 
This year’s assembly was hosted by Roman Catholic leadership at the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI in Rome, Italy. Last year’s delegation was hosted by Baptist leadership at Truett Theological Seminary on the campus of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, USA. 
The December gathering centered on the theme, “Context of Common Witness,” with discussions reflecting on the global cultural context in which common Christian witness is being conducted around the world. This sub-theme helps to illuminate the overall theme of the third phase of dialogue, “The Dynamic of the Gospel and the Witness of the Church.” 
On Wednesday, December 12, the delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. While speaking with Rev. Dr. Frank Rees, Baptist Co-Chair of the dialogue as well as chair of the BWA Commission on Baptist Doctrine and Christian Unity, Pope Francis requested that Baptists be in prayer for him. He affirmed the vision behind the Baptist-Catholic Dialogue and expressed the importance of unity among Christians. 
On Thursday, December 13, the participants visited Chisea Evangelica Battista Di Trastevere, a local Baptist church that is deeply committed to ecumenical engagement and sharing in the gospel with Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals. The delegation was welcomed by both the pastor and congregation and enjoyed learning about the church’s ministry to people from around the world, including individuals from Africa and Latin America who are living in Rome, as well as serving the homeless living in the streets. 
“Our time together was quite powerful as we explored our common witness to Christ and saw it put to action in Tratsevere where the Baptist Church and Catholic Church share a common wall as well as shared ministry in their neighborhood,” said Rev. Dr. Trisha Miller Manarin, BWA Coordinator of Mission, Evangelism, and Justice.  
This year’s gathering represents a long-standing and growing commitment between Baptists and Catholics, with previous dialogues occurring from 1984-1988 and from 2006-2010.  
“I am grateful for the strong BWA team who led the most recent Baptist-Catholic dialogue,” said Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, BWA General Secretary. “Their expertise is invaluable, and a focus on how we can collectively take the gospel to the world is as pressing today as ever.” 
Baptist Commission Members participating in this round of conversations included Co-Chair Rev. Dr. Frank Rees, Associate Professor and Chair of the Academic Board at the University of Divinity in Australia; Rev. Paul S. Fiddes (UK), Dr. Derek Hatch (USA), Dr. Glenroy Lalor (Jamaica), Dr. Tomás Mackey (Argentina), Dr. Elizabeth Newman (USA), and Dr. Lina Toth (Lithuania/UK). Rev. Dr. Anna Maffei (Italy) and Rev. Jeremy Bell (Canada) participated as observers, Rev. Dr. Trisha Miller Manarin served as the BWA Staff Representative, and Rev. Dr. Steven R. Harmon served on behalf of the BWA as secretary for the Co-Chair.
The Catholic delegation consisted of Co-Chair Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey, USA; Dr. Peter Casarella (USA), Rev. Dr. Stephen Fernandes (India), Rev. Dr. William Henn O.F.M. Cap. (Italy), Rev. Dr. Hector Scerri (Malta), Sr. Dr. Marie-Hélène Robert N.D.A. (France), Rev. Dr. Jorge A. Scampini O.P. (Argentina), and Sr. Dr. Susan Wood S.C.L. (USA). Rev. Dr. Gabriel Mmassi (Africa/Italy) was a guest presenter at the meeting, and Rev. Avelino Gonzalez-Ferrer of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity served as secretary for the Co-Chair.
The Baptist-Catholic group will meet annually through 2021, with the next round of conversations to be hosted by the Baptist Union of Poland at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Warsaw on December 9-13, 2019.
L-R: Pope Francis, Rev. Dr. Frank Rees (Baptist Co-Chair), Bishop Arthur Serratelli (Catholic Co-Chair) 
Members of the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity gathered in Rome this month for theological discussions hosted by the Baptist-Catholic International Dialogue Joint Commission. Photo Provided by the Vatican Photography Service
To review the commission communique, click here.
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need; defend human rights and justice; promote worship, fellowship and unity; and advance relevant theological reflection.