Vol 12 No. 32 Baptist World Alliance

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is an association of 232 member bodies from 121 countries and territories. They represent approximately 100 million believers worldwide and, with the Anglicans and the Lutherans, represent the largest Protestant denominations. They meet every 5 years for a General Assembly; in summer 2015 it was in Durban, South Africa, in 2010 it was Honolulu, USA and in 2005 it was in Birmingham, England. In between these meetings there are annual gatherings of particular commissions and leaders that represent the conventions and countries that are members of the Baptist World Alliance. Canadians Shirley Bentall, Bruce Milne, Harry Gardner, Roy Bell, and Gary Nelson are to name a few of those who have been Vice-Presidents of this organization over the years. Our representatives at the Annual Meetings are Joyce & Ken Bellous and Terry Smith. We also are represented by the presence of Malcolm Card, who is the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) Board Chair, and by Moreen Sharp, who is the President of the North American Baptist Women.

The BWA played a very strong role in advocating for Christians who were persecuted behind the Iron Curtain in the days of the Cold War. Our newNorth American Baptist Fellowship (NABF) General Secretary is Elijah Brown, who also works at the Wilberforce Initiative which is specifically concerned about the persecution of many around the world especially Christians.

The BWA is not simply concerned about religious freedom and social justice. It has been deeply committed to evangelism.  Billy Graham has been a very strong supporter of the BWA over the years and a great encourager. The Annual meetings that I just referred to are held in a variety of places.  This year’s meetings were held in Vancouver and hosted by Canadian Baptist Ministries with a great deal of assistance from Dawn Johannesson at the BCY Regional office. Well over 300 delegates from a wide range of countries participated in the deliberations. In the next years the meetings will be in Bangkok, Thailand in 2017; in 2018 they will be in Zurich, Switzerland; 2019 is yet to be determined and 2020 (the quinquennium) will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Neville Callum, the Baptist World Alliance General Secretary, preached at First Baptist Vancouver.  This is the same church that hosted the Canadian evening organized by CBM with great thanks to Tim Keupfer (Senior Pastor, FBC Vancouver) and thanks for the outdoor barbeque they graciously offered the delegates.

NABF’s new President is Samuel Tolbert who is also President of the National Baptist Convention. Both Samuel and Elijah will provide great leadership in encouraging and resourcing the over 26 million Baptists that belong to North American Baptist Fellowship. For the next 2 years I am a Vice-President of NABF, and have been appointed from 2015 – 2020 on the Executive of the BWA as the elected North American Baptist representative. I would like to thank CBM for their outstanding support, along with Terry Smith, Gordon Brew, and Dawn Johannesson, for work well done.

I would encourage you to go to the BWA site and look at any photos or videos but especially to look at the resolutions that came from this year’s annual meeting.


In Christ

Jeremy Bell

Quote of the week: Seamus Heaney’s poem “Digging” – a comment from an Irish poet speaking of his vocation as a writer, comparing his digging to his grandfathers excavation of peat in the old Irish bogs. You can read the full poem here.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.