BWA receives new members

Ajoy Lama, 2nd right, of the Arunachal Baptist Church Council of India with, (from left) BWA First Vice President Jan Sethra, General Secretary Neville Callam and President Paul Msiza

Three organizations were granted membership in the Baptist World Alliance by the General Council at its meeting convened in Vancouver, Canada.

One new country has been added to the BWA roster. Founded in 1984, the Grenada Baptist Association has six churches and 400 members. Grenada is the newest country in the Caribbean to join the BWA family.

The Arunachal Baptist Church Council in Arunachal Pradesh state in Northeast India, established in 2008, comprises 95,000 members in more than 1,000 churches. It grew out of a merger of two Baptist groups in the state, one in the north and the other in the south, and becomes the 21st BWA member from India.

The Faith Evangelical Baptist Church in South Sudan has 7,000 members in 74 churches in both South Sudan and Kenya.  It was established in 2007.

The BWA now has 235 member organizations in 122 countries and territories.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 6, 2016

Baptists to discuss International terrorism and refugee displacement

Aftermath of the July 2016 Baghdad bombings, picture via Tasnim NewsThe growing refugee crisis and terrorism will be among the issues to be discussed during the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering, primarily Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Europe and the mayhem caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

The Annual Gathering is being held from July 4-9 in Vancouver, Canada.

It is expected that the General Council, which convenes during the gathering, will consider resolutions that speak to terrorist acts of violence and the displacement of persons.

Presenters and discussants include Baptist leaders in countries that are grappling with the crisis caused by refugees fleeing war and conflict from other countries, as well as persons working with response groups.

The impact of violence, terrorism and war on children and women will come in for attention, while sessions will be devoted to discerning a biblical response to these and other concerns.

The Annual Gathering brings together more than 300 Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives from more than 50 countries 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

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

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