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

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 www.bwanet.org/give.

Baptist World Alliance®
©June 7, 2017

 

Seminar on crisis management at Baptist global gathering in Thailand

A crisis management and communication training seminar will be held during the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Annual Gathering, which will be in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 2-7.

It will be open to all those attending the Gathering.

Crises faced by churches may stem from natural episodes such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes; or reputational events such as scandal, litigation or conflict.

Participants will learn about understanding crisis, the stages of a crisis, and the dos and don’ts of crisis communication.

The session will explore how to conduct a threat assessment and the basic principles to be applied in the event of a crisis.

There will be guidance on putting a crisis team together, gathering and disseminating information and determining stakeholders.

The BWA Annual Gathering brings together Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives from more than 50 countries for worship, fellowship, study and theological reflection, and decision meetings.

Baptist World Alliance®
©May 8, 2016

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

 

 

BWA has deep “ecclesial density”

Baptists groups utilize a variety of names to describe their groupings. They self-identify as unions, conventions, conferences, assemblies, associations, fellowships and councils.

Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam says these names “reflect the perplexing diversity that marks the Baptist family worldwide.”

Callam, who delivered the 2017 Willson-Addis Lecture at Baylor University in Texas in the United States in March, says “lurking behind these names are multiple ecclesiologies, but also the multiple cultures – diverse customs and traditions – found within the global Baptist family.”

He suggests that the BWA has had to negotiate the varied Baptist understandings and practices while forging a worldwide movement toward unity of Baptist Christians. The BWA has been careful to state, in its early formative documents, what it is not.

The BWA, for instance, “was not a body with supervisory powers over the churches”; it “was not authorized to exercise juridical power over individual churches and the unions and conventions they establish”; it “would not trample on the autonomy of its member bodies”; and it “would not compete with, or duplicate the work of, the churches forming it.”

But Callam insists that the “BWA is not a mere body of affinity. It is not simply a fellowship of likeminded persons…. Nor is the BWA merely a voluntary association of people claiming to share a common heritage.”

Rather, the BWA is “a fellowship or communion of churches… that exist in association with each other.” This association has “ecclesial density.”

The BWA provides “guardianship of congregational authority” while, at the same time, demonstrating and embodying “commitment to the furtherance of Baptist oneness.” Drawing on the works of Stanley Grenz and Paul Fiddes, Callam suggests that the groundwork exists for Baptists united in the BWA to adopt “a distinctively Baptist communion ecclesiology.”

This understanding of the church in communion terms is “strong enough to contain the variety of ways in which Baptist life is ordered” locally, nationally, regionally and globally. It is also dynamic enough to include relationships with church groups outside the BWA community.

The Willson-Addis Lecture at Truett Seminary, Baylor University, examines practical Christianity from a variety of perspectives within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Past lecturers included Philip Jenkins, Stanley Grenz, Ronald Sider and Diana Garland.

Baptist World Alliance®
©April 4, 2016