Callam encourages Canadian congregation to remember those who labor in the faith

Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Neville Callam encouraged Christians to specially remember Christians who work and live in vulnerable circumstances.

The global Baptist leader, who was preaching at the worship service of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, on July 3, made the case for Christian hospitality when he said, “We should treat our fellow Christians who are hungry or thirsty as we would treat Jesus.”

There are Christians, he said, who are engaged in the enterprise of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ who need the prayer and support of their fellow believers. The response to their needs should be the same as Christians would respond to the needs of the incarnated Jesus.

“We should treat Christ’s messengers who are poorly clothed as we would treat Jesus,” Callam emphasized. “We should treat those fellow Christians who are ill – perhaps undergoing some physical condition occasioned by the mission they are on – as we would treat Jesus.”

Callam told the congregation that “Christians should be ready at all times to receive their fellow Christians who are messengers of the Gospel – that is, people who preach or teach the Gospel, people who bear witness to Christ – as we would receive Jesus himself.”

The congregation offered prayer that, through unity and love, Baptists may become “light to those who live in spiritual darkness” and that they “break down the barriers that divide.”

Baptists from around the world are in Vancouver for the BWA Annual Gathering from July 4-9. A number of participants worshiped and several preached at churches in the Vancouver area.

The Annual Gathering brings together an international group of Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives for worship, fellowship, study, theological reflection and decision meetings.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 4, 2016

BWA convenes evangelism conference for French-speaking Baptists in the Caribbean

The Baptist World Alliance convened the fourth “Jesus Christ, Bread of Life” Mission and Evangelism Training Conference aimed at Francophone Baptists in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Martin, in the Caribbean. It completed the program of evangelism conferences for French-speaking countries in Africa, Europe, Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean.

The events were from June 19-22 in Fort-de-France, Martinique; and June 22-26 in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe, Southeastern Caribbean islands, are overseas departments and are among the 18 regions of France.

Some 420 participants attended the meetings in Martinique, with a daily average attendance of about 140. Another 321 participants were in Guadeloupe, with about 107 on a daily basis.

“I am a pastor. I was feeling depressed. When I heard of the Bread of Life Conference, God told me he was behind the idea. I thank our team for coming here,” one participant in Martinique said. “It is harvest time here, and God sent you to wake us up,” another said. “We should organize a great evangelistic crusade for Martinique.”

“God brought you here and God was already working with us,” a Guadeloupe attendee said. “From now on, it will be difficult for us to do less [than] what we have done. We have to speak with one voice, coming together to present one evangelical voice.”

“Praise God, you came here to encourage us,” another exclaimed. “We have been waiting a long time for this. We did not know how to do it, now it has come to us,” said yet another. “Let’s evangelize to turn the entire Guadeloupe to Christ.”

Presenters included Lionel Charles, educator, writer and a pastor in the Evangelical Church in France; and Renaud Dumont, a founder of the Federation of the Guadeloupe Baptist Churches, a former host and producer of a Baptist radio broadcast covering Guadeloupe and Martinique, and founder and senior pastor of First French-Speaking Haitian Baptist Church in New Hampshire in the United States.

Everton Jackson, BWA regional secretary for the Caribbean and executive secretary/treasurer of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, made a presentation in absentia.

Fausto Vasconcelos, director of the BWA division of Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection, coordinated and attended the event.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 1, 2016

Former BWA president Noel Vose has died

Noel Vose, president of the Baptist World Alliance between 1985 and 1990, died on May 2, in Western Australia. He was 94 years old.

Vose was founding principal of the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia, which opened in 1963, and retired from that position in 1991. The institution was renamed in his honor in 2008, and is now known as Vose Seminary.

The Australian Baptist leader paved the way for the founding of the seminary when he moved a motion at the Western Australia Baptist Assembly in 1957, that the assembly recognize the urgent need for a state theological college, and that concrete plans be presented to the 1958 gathering for establishing one.

He was president of the Baptist Union of Australia from 1975-1978 and a former pastor at East Fremantle, Dalkeith and Parkerville Baptist churches.

In addition to being president, Vose held several other positions in the BWA, including as a member of the General Council and the Executive Committee, and chair of the Division on Study and Research Executive Committee and of the Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation. He also was a member of the Commission on Baptist Heritage and Identity, the Commission on Baptists against Racism and the Church Health & Effectiveness Workgroup.

As chair of the Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation, he led the BWA in the round of theological dialogue with the Mennonite World Conference from 1989-1992, resuming conversations that had ceased amicably between Baptists and Anabaptists more than 350 years earlier, in about the year 1630.

“On behalf of the Baptist World Alliance we receive with sadness the news of the passing away of God's servant, one of our past presidents, Dr. Noel Vose,” said BWA President Paul Msiza. “Our hearts and prayers are with his family. As a Baptist family we were indeed blessed by God to have such a great leader with a pastoral heart. Dr. Vose has served his Lord and Master with much dedication and love. The Baptist family has been enriched by his selfless ministry.”

Msiza declared that “we are comforted to know that even though we will miss him, Dr. Vose entered the eternal rest to be with the Lord. He has joined the great cloud of witnesses in heaven.”

“Noel Vose was an outstanding servant leader within the worldwide Baptist family and beyond,” General Secretary Neville Callam said. “We celebrate his thoughtfulness, insightfulness and charitable spirit.”

Callam made reference to one of Vose’s publications. “One of his outstanding literary gifts to us is Mena: Daughter of Obedience, which was published in 2013. It reflects Vose's capacity to discern the vast and diverse confessional canvas on which the grace of God is displayed and it also offers a story of the triumph of the love of Christ.”

The general secretary declared that “Noel is now gathered with the vast cloud of witnesses to receive the prize that awaits those whom God calls to glory. The loss of Noel Vose will be felt around the world but his legacy will be celebrated in every meeting place of thoughtful Christians who knew him.”

Vose earned degrees and diplomas from the University of Western Australia, the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago in the United States and the University of Iowa, also in the US.

He was predeceased by his wife, Heather, who died unexpectedly in 1990.

He is survived by son, Stephen, a member of the BWA Commission on Interfaith Relations and the Promotion and Development Advisory Committee; and daughter, Valerie.

Memorial service will take place at Parkerville Baptist Church in Western Australia.

Baptist World Alliance®
© April 22, 2016

Baptist leaders to gather in Vancouver, Canada

BWA President Paul Msiza

Several hundred Baptists are to attend the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering in Vancouver, Canada, from July 4-9.

The Annual Gathering brings together an international group of Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives for worship, fellowship, study, theological reflection and decision meetings.

This is the first Annual Gathering since the Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in July 2015 and the first to be presided over by Paul Msiza, who was elected BWA president at the congress.

Highlights will include the reception of new member organizations into the BWA from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and a special welcome event planned by Canadian Baptists.

A communications seminar, which is open to all participating at the gathering, will explore “the use photography and videography to break down barriers and bring persons together.”

Commissions will delve into core theological matters related to Christian worship, mission, evangelism, spiritual enrichment and other ecclesial topics. Global issues related to various justice concerns such as peacemaking, migrants and poverty, among others, will be examined.

Networking and fellowship opportunities will be available as participants gather in regional meetings with fellow Baptists from Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America; as well as when women, men and youth meet together.

Various personnel, such as General Secretary Neville Callam, Treasurer Carolyn Fossen and BWA staff; and entities such as standing and advisory committees, will present reports.

The two governing bodies of the BWA, the Executive Committee and the General Council, will convene during the Annual Gathering.

 Baptist World Alliance®
©June 17, 2016

Baptist response to Ecuador quake

Ecuadorian Baptists preparing emergency relief for earthquake victims (Photo courtesy of Israel Baptist Church)Baptists in Ecuador and other countries are offering emergency relief to those affected by the 7.8 earthquake that struck the country on April 16.

Almost 600 have been killed, more than 8,300 were injured and more than 150 remain missing, .

Israel Baptist Church in the city of Guayaquil said “We're getting bottled water, canned food, dry food, powdered milk, tents, basic hygiene products, portable batteries, lamps and kitchen utensils” to earthquake victims.

The congregation’s pastor is Parrish Jacome, Baptist World Alliance (BWA) regional secretary for South America and executive director of the Union of Baptists in Latin America. Jacome declared the earthquake as “one of the most terrible events to have happened in Ecuador.”

A Rescue 24 team comprising Hungarian and North Carolina Baptists in the United States arrived in the country on April 18. They are working with Ecuadorian Baptists to assist with search and rescue and to provide medical assistance, sanitation and temporary shelter to those in need.

Rescue 24 indicated that the earthquake damaged communications, transport and sewage systems, making it difficult to conduct rescue operations.

The Baptist Rescue 24 team in Ecuador

"The Baptist Convention in Ecuador and all the churches have organized to send support and coordinate help coming from abroad,” Jacome said. “We are sending teams to the most affected areas for relief."

Jacome said "the response team is still finding people alive under the wreckage. He told Christian Today that Ecuadorians are “facing a complicated and difficult situation.”

The BWA, which is still receiving donations, sent an initial sum of US$15,000 in emergency assistance.

Donations may be made online at or sent to:

Baptist World Aid
c/o Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046 USA

Baptist World Alliance®

© April 22, 2016