March 21, 2013 — Canadian Baptists share the enthusiasm that our Catholic sisters and brothers have over the election of Pope Francis, and extend our prayers to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as he begins this new role. We are well aware of the challenges of Christian leadership, and pray for God’s peace and leading as Pope Francis begins to chart a new course.
We are especially encouraged by the humility and simplicity that Bergoglio has exemplified throughout his life. We see in this a poignant reminder not to lord our ministry position over others but to remain in solidarity with those who live on the margins. It is also significant that Pope Francis is the first Latin American and first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church. This illuminates both the worldwide presence of Jesus’ disciples and Catholicism’s particular strength in the Global South.
The Roman Catholic Church has great opportunity and challenge in front of it, and we pray that Pope Francis will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will continue to exemplify the teachings and presence of Jesus. We look forward to working together on issues of common concern, as we seek to share God’s love and invite people into God’s Kingdom.
Pope Francis, may God be with you.
Rev. Sam Chaise, General Secretary, Canadian Baptist Ministries
Dr. Peter Reid, Executive Minister, Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches
Rev. David Rowley, Secrétaire Général, Union d’Églises baptistes francophones du Canada
Rev. Tim McCoy, Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec
Rev. Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Western Canada