The CBWC, along with its sister denominations in Canada (Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, French Baptist Union, Canadian Baptists of Atlanta Canada and Canadian Baptist Ministries) are long time participants in the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). In Canada, the North American Baptists, the Baptist General Conference and the Southern Baptists (about a third of Southern Baptists still belong to the BWA) are also part of the BWA. In the last thirty years Shirley Bentall, Roy Bell, Bruce Milne and Gary Nelson have had considerable contributions to make to this worldwide family. The BWA is in 124 countries representing 214 Baptist Conventions with over 37 million members and worshipers.
The Baptist World Congress has convened every five years since 1905, when it was in London, England. In 2005, it met in Birmingham England. In 2010 it will meet in Hawaii. Every year, the Annual Gathering meets in another part of the world; in 2007 it was in Ghana to reflect and report on the slave trade (still with us) and the 200th Anniversary of the British Empire’s repudiation of the slave trade. In 2008 it was in Prague and this year, 2009, it is in Holland to mark the 400th Anniversary of the first Baptist congregation. There is some lively debate as to whether we as a worshipping family are only 400 years old; those in Germany might claim an earlier date, those in England, the same. None the less, there is a great deal of affirmation and consensus of this particular celebration. The Dutch have a particular fondness for Canadians since their relationship was solidified in the Second World War. There are many Dutch immigrant family traditions in Canada. By the way, did you to recall that Charles Haddon Spurgeon was from Dutch stock (which may explain the cigars!)
The gathering this summer in Ede (an hour outside of Amsterdam) will concern itself with several sub-groups that support evangelism, international and religious freedom (the world is becoming a deadlier place for many, especially Christians and in some areas, particularly Baptists), women’s and men’s ministries, youth, church health and the academy to name a few. I will report on these in the fall. I, like other Canadian Baptist partners, sit on several working groups; the Program Committee for the 2010 Congress, the Freedom and Justice Commission and the Church Renewal Workgroup. Conference dates are July 27th to August 1st.
Kerry and I are celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year on August 10th and we have taken two weeks (after which she must return to work) before the BWA gathering to hike in Scotland with friends and explore a bit of Holland.
Please pray for safety, openness and thankfulness to God for all who are part of this gathering.