Vol 10 No. 29 Baptist World Alliance

Dear Friends,

I write this on July the 10th in the middle of the Baptist World Alliance Meetings in Izmir, Turkey, which is the modern name of the New Testament church of Smyrna.  It is a verse from Revelation 2:11a that is the theme of our conference; “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  It is a verse addressed to Smyrna; it is a verse addressed to all of us.  That verse alone gives me pause and stakes out the two obvious questions contained therein… if I l have an ability to listen, an inclination to attend and be present before God then what am I hearing the Spirit say to me, my church and the Lord’s leading?  I have so much to share while only being a third of the way through the meetings but must write today as to meet a deadline so that this newsletter makes July 16th.  More to say of this time later, including the resolutions to come from the meetings, the links to the talks and resources.

I want to share some preliminary points but before I do I want to thanks Moreen Sharp, Ken Bellous, Gary Nelson, Sam Chaise and Harry Gardner for how they serve the wider Baptist world and how pleased and proud I am that they represent us as Canadians so very meaningfully.  

Some brief stories, a down payment for more later:

  • I heard the story; which I will quote verbatim and attribute to later – of 6 Baptist churches in England in 1644 who created a Covenant together.  This document said in part three things, we agree together as distinct congregations because ‘there were too many as could conveniently meet in one place’” (size was an issue in 1644), secondly that they held faith in canon and, for me, most profoundly they agreed to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” Amen – may that be said of us.
  • On the 200th Anniversary of Baptist work in Myanmar (by the American Baptists) 30,000 folk turned out to celebrate.
  • In Ethiopia there are seven Baptist groups (5 in Canada) who met this last year in a time of prayer and fellowship for the very first time.
  • The Ukrainian Baptist churches headquarters were converted to an emergency medical clinic in these latest troubles.  When asked how they were doing their spokesman said we have learned how to pray in our homes, in our churches and the public square (on our knees)

I will limit the narrative for now but bringing us back to the theme from Revelations 2:11a, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  What the Spirit says to the church in Turkey and what the Spirit calls us to say have different content but it is the same Spirit… that, like the British Baptists of 1644, calls us to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”  Even now Lord give us ears to hear so that we might be the ‘hands and feet of God”.


In Christ,