Baptist World Alliance Announces COVID-19 Response Plan

Emergency Grants Available to All 240 Baptist Conventions and Unions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – April 8, 2020) In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is launching Standing Together: A Global Response Plan. With confirmed cases now in 174 countries around the world, the BWA is mobilizing its global network to take action.

“A global pandemic requires a global response,” said Elijah Brown, BWA General Secretary. “The vision for Baptist World Aid originated 100 years ago in the wake of the Spanish plague and the aftermath of World War I, and as we mark this centennial milestone in 2020, the need for Baptists around the world to mobilize and respond is as great as ever.”

As part of the Standing Together Global Response Plan, the BWA has already reached out to all 240 Baptist conventions and unions to offer emergency grants in response to immediate needs arising from COVID-19. The BWA has set aside $250,000 USD for this initial effort and asks the global Baptist family to stand together in raising a matching amount of $250,000 to facilitate additional outreach.

“What makes the BWA so unique is that we are a network of Baptists from 125 countries and territories in equal partnership with one another,” said Julie Justus, Director of Global Partnerships and Unity. “By offering emergency grants during this time of global crisis to all 240 member bodies, we are standing together as a united family of 47 million BWA Baptists.”

Another facet of the Standing Together Global Response Plan is the development of a worldwide aid and relief response facilitated through the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), a network of more than 30 international aid agencies.

“As a global pandemic, this is truly a time to stand together in all that we do. Collaborating together is essential, and BFAD is seeking to collectively assess how we can best reach those who are most vulnerable in this pandemic. Through this collaboration, we can work toward maximum impact,” said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. “I urge Baptists around the world to share information, ideas, and support with each other. With this, we can draw on our Baptist history of activism and commitment to grass roots work to reach the most vulnerable.”

To provide a centralized source for information sharing and collaboration opportunities, the BWA has created a COVID-19 microsite. Among the resources included are tools for remote worship, stories of how Baptists are responding internationally, and a prayer request form. The submissions will be prayed over by a team of global Baptist intercessors, one of the many ways the BWA is affirming a continued call to united prayer. In addition, the BWA organized a 24-hour prayer marathon last month that included participants from 44 nations – spanning many cultures, multiple generations, and numerous languages.

“One of the most impactful ways we can stand together at this time is through prayer,” said Merritt Johnston, BWA Director of Communications and Media and COVID-19 Prayer Coordinator. “Though we cannot be together physically, we are still one in spirit and one in mission. To that end, we will continue to seek ways to utilize technology for prayer mobilization and pastoral encouragement, including the introduction of virtual office hours during Holy Week.”

In addition, the BWA has launched a new partnership with 21Wilberforce to immediately enhance religious freedom monitoring and advocacy. Two anticipated religious freedom challenges stemming from COVID-19 include:

Denial of healthcare service to religious minorities due to their religion
Governments which might attempt to use understandable public health concerns to turn temporary closures of worship facilities into permanent closures that deny the opportunity for people of religious faith to gather for communal worship.

In response, the BWA is offering immediate, enhanced religious freedom monitoring and advocacy in all 125 countries and territories in which there is a BWA member body. Religious freedom violations can be reported through the COVID-19 microsite .

“In times like these, it is vital that we remain vigilant in our religious freedom and human rights monitoring,” said Randel Everett, President of 21Wilberforce. “We are committed to stand together with the marginalized and to advocate as needed around the world.”

As the impact of COVID-19 evolves, the Baptist World Alliance is poised to respond and invites Baptists around the world to stand together in prayinggivinglearning, and serving.

“Hope rises when we stand together,” said Brown. “I invite you to join us in giving as generously as you can today, enabling us to be messengers of hope and agents of light in these dark times.”

Click here to make a gift to the Standing Together Global Response Fund today.

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Special Video update from BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown
Click to watch a special video update from BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown announcing the launch of the Standing Together Global Response Plan.

 

STANDING TOGETHER

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Baptist World Alliance has issued the “Standing Together” Global Response Plan.

To see a visual overview of the initial plan, click here.

 

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 240 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.

Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Honoring the Legacy of General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz

BWA General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz Passes Away at 80
BWA Calls Upon All Baptists to Honor His Legacy
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - April 23, 2019) Today Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz, General Secretary Emeritus of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and faithful servant of the LORD, died at his home in Forestdale, Massachusetts, USA, at the age of 80. The Baptist World Alliance calls upon all Baptists to remember and honor his legacy and to pray for his family.
 
Born in 1939 in Flushing, New York, USA, Lotz was the youngest of four sons raised by Rev. and Mrs. John Lotz. He often credited his heritage for influencing his ministry, stating that he inherited “a German brain from his father and an Italian heart from his mother.”
 
After graduating from Northpoint High School in 1956, Lotz attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. He then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1961-1963. During a portion of his service, he was stationed internationally in Okinawa, Japan, ultimately achieving the rank of second lieutenant.
 
After completing his military service, he attended Harvard Divinity School where he served as President of the Student Government from 1965-1966. He earned his sacred theology degree in 1966 as well as being ordained that same year at Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After completing his studies at Harvard, Lotz began his doctoral studies at the University of Hamburg in Germany, earning a Doctor of Theology in 1970.
 
1970 proved to be a wonderful year as it was also the year he married the love of his life – Janice Robinson from Ellisville, Mississippi. For the next ten years, they would serve as missionaries with the International Ministries Division of American Baptist Churches. During their missionary tenure, Lotz traveled extensively – often to countries under communist control – with a focus on lecturing, preaching, and serving as a diplomatic representative to government officials on questions of religious freedom and Baptist life.
 
During this time, Lotz also served as a professor of missions and homiletics at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, where he founded the Summer Institute of Theological Education (SITE) – a short-term, intensive theological program for Eastern European pastors and leaders.
 
While ministering in Europe, he often traveled alongside Gerhard Claas, who was serving at the time as General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation. When Claas was selected to be the next BWA General Secretary, he invited Lotz to be his deputy. Lotz joined the BWA staff in 1980 in the role of associate secretary, with responsibilities including oversight of the Division of Evangelism and Education as well as Relief and Development. He would later be appointed as Director of the BWA Youth Department as well.
 
After Claas suddenly passed away in a tragic automobile accident in 1988, Lotz was designated as Interim General Secretary. Shortly thereafter, the BWA Executive Committee voted to permanently appoint him, which was affirmed by the BWA General Council later that year.
 
During nearly two decades of service as General Secretary, Rev. Lotz served alongside five BWA presidents and 71 Vice Presidents as well as numerous commission chairs and staff members. He led preparations for four Baptist World Congresses with a cumulative attendance of 42,000 people from more than 100 countries. He oversaw 20 General Council meetings as well as 16 Annual Gatherings.
 
“He leaves a massive footprint in the history of the BWA,” said Rev. Dr. David Coffey, former Baptist World Alliance President (2005-2010). “He was a missionary theologian, an inspiring preacher and evangelist, a champion for religious liberty, a Baptist ambassador, a Christian statesman, and a brother unrivaled in his prodigious remembering of the names of hundreds of people and places.”
 
Among his many contributions to the BWA, Lotz helped launch the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE) in 1991, which was attended by Baptist educators from 52 countries. He was also instrumental in relocating the Baptist World Alliance office to its current facility in Falls Church, Virginia, USA, in 2001. In July 2005 at the BWA Centennial Congress in Birmingham, England, Lotz unveiled the Living Water initiative, a strategic plan designed to enlist and equip local Baptists for evangelism and servant leadership. Since its inception, Living Water events have taken place around the world from Cuba to Bangladesh with more than 4,500 registered delegates in attendance who have engaged in prayer, focused Bible study, evangelism, and leadership training.
 
In addition to his service as BWA General Secretary, Rev. Lotz was twice elected President of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), an organization chartered in 1893 to work with government and educational institutions to disseminate principles of religious liberty and human rights throughout the world. The IRLA tradition of rotating presidents every two years was broken with Lotz, who was re-elected an unprecedented four times.
 
Upon his re-election in 2002, then IRLA Secretary General John Graz said, “We are honored to have someone like Denton whose passion for religious freedom is demonstrated in his daily commitment to defend human rights for people everywhere.” Upon his retirement from the BWA, Graz wrote, “Thank you for your convictions, for your intelligent way of expressing your faith, and the values in which you believe without destroying bridges between yourself and others.”
 
His commitment to racial reconciliation was the catalyst for the formation of the BWA Special Commission on Baptists Against Racism and Ethnic Conflict, which resulted in the Harare Declaration in 1993 and the Decade for Racial Justice. Because of his tireless advocacy for human rights and religious freedom, the BWA named its annual human rights award in his honor, with ten individuals receiving the Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award since 2006.
 
His tireless effort and commitment were matched only by his love for people and unwavering optimism even in the face of great challenge.
 
“In whatever country he arrived, he was welcomed as someone who brought hope to Baptists wherever they were and in whatever situation they found themselves,” said Wendy Ryan, former BWA Communications Director. “There was never a time I traveled with him as part of a BWA team that I did not see him received with great joy.”
 
His ministry took him around the world from African villages to the Oval Office. His friendships included globally-recognized faith leaders like Rev. Billy Graham as well as leaders of state such as former United States President Jimmy Carter. Upon his retirement from the BWA in 2007, Graham wrote, “Your strong leadership and personal faith has been an inspiration and blessing to me.” Carter shared the following, “As I think of all the BWA has accomplished for Baptists around the world in the past twenty years, I know that your gifted leadership has helped to make it all possible. You have served a great organization with conviction and honor.”
 
After his “retirement,” Lotz continued to travel and preach in addition to serving as Senior Pastor of Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He also remained active in the life and ministry of the BWA, including providing encouragement to the organization’s newest leader.
 
“Denton Lotz was one of the most significant Baptist leaders of the second half of the twentieth century. His profound leadership touched countless lives around the world as he championed evangelism, religious freedom, and the ministry of the global Baptist family,” said Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, BWA General Secretary. “From my first individual meeting with Denton in 2007 until the present, he offered regular and meaningful encouragement and insight. To Janice and all of the Lotz family, I stand with you as does all of the Baptist World Alliance in mourning and in recognition of a life of incredible service. Thank you for sharing Denton with us. While today I feel a keen sense of loss in Denton’s passing, I believe his leadership and legacy will continue to shape and mold the Baptist World Alliance for years to come.”
 
Rev. Lotz is survived by his loving wife, Janice, their three children, and many grandchildren. A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday, April 26, at 12 p.m. at Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with a reception following. A live-streamed memorial service celebrating his life and legacy will also be hosted by the Baptist World Alliance at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia, USA. Details will be forthcoming.
 
Those wishing to share a tribute are invited to do so by visiting: http://bit.ly/honoringdenton
 
                                                                                                                             ###
 
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
 
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Baptist World Alliance Announces Director of Integral Mission Position

 
Baptist World Alliance Announces
Director of Integral Mission Position
Invites Global Applicants for New Staff Role
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - September 6, 2019) The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is accepting applicants for a new full-time position: Director of Integral Mission (DIM). This Director will work in close collaboration with the General Secretary to further develop the core ministry areas of leading in evangelism and mission while providing administrative oversight and leadership in the areas of defending religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advancing theological reflection and transformational leadership. This position will continue to help fulfill the mission of the BWA, “Networking the Baptist Family to Impact the World for Christ.”
 
"I am excited to announce this position, the next step in the strategic growth of our BWA Team," said Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, BWA General Secretary. "Our global Baptist family has been unified by the Great Commission for more than 100 years, and this position is an expression of our continued commitment to evangelism and mission."
 
Key qualifications for this position include:
  • A personal, passionate calling and commitment to evangelism and mission
  • A strong administrative skillset to lead the development and implementation of programs that will network BWA member bodies, churches, and individuals, especially in the area of evangelism and mission
  • A clear commitment to personal spiritual growth, local Baptist church participation, and love for mobilizing others to engage in ministry 
 
Key priorities for this position:
  • Develop and implement an overarching strategy for BWA engagement in evangelism and mission around the world
  • Provide administrative oversight and leadership of commissions, which offer global Baptists opportunities to engage in research, dialogue, and collaborative action around agreed areas of concern to churches and individuals
  • Engage in efforts to directly help Baptists around the world as they encounter justice challenges such as conflict, persecution, and arrest with due consideration to others who may also face similar situations
  • Develop and implement an overarching strategy for BWA engagement in advancing theological reflection and transformational leadership 
 
The BWA is conducting a global search and actively welcomes applicants from every region of the world. The application deadline is October 11, 2019.
 
For more information or to share details about this job opportunity, please visit the BWA Director of Integral Mission Informational Page.
 
 
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 240 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
 
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
 
 
Baptist World Alliance | BWANet.org
 

Baptist World Alliance Mobilizes Response to Hurricane Dorian


 
Baptist World Alliance Mobilizes Response to Hurricane Dorian
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - September 10, 2019) Hurricane Dorian is one of the strongest and longest-lasting storms on record in the Atlantic, claiming the lives of at least 45 people and leaving an estimated 70,000 homeless.
 
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) calls upon all global Baptists to join us in prayer for the people of The Bahamas, those on the East Coast of the United States of America, and the people of Nova Scotia, Canada, who have been impacted by this storm. The BWA stands in support of the Baptist conventions and unions in the impacted regions and is committed to mobilize disaster relief efforts through Baptist World Aid (BWAid), which includes the newly-established Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD).
 
To that end, the BWA is sending an initial grant of $8,000 (USD) to The Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention to be utilized for immediate emergency relief in the area and will continue to respond as specific needs are identified.
 
Rev. Everton Jackson, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, met with representatives from the local convention on Monday, September 9, to tour some of the impacted areas in The Bahamas.
 
"It is still too early to know the full extent of the damage occasioned by the hurricane, but what is sure is that prayers are needed for those affected and those in the path of this dreadful hurricane," said Jackson. "In addition, support will be needed to aid the restoration of the affected countries."
 
As reports continued to emerge and local assessments are made, it is clear that the devastation is significant and will require long-term efforts as thousands begin the process of rebuilding homes and lives.
 
Through the network of BFAD, the BWA has conducted multiple action calls over the last week to assess and coordinate efforts among global Baptist organizations and to support partners on the ground in the impacted regions. 
 
"Our heart is to work together as the global Baptist body to respond and walk alongside those who are facing this crisis, not just now but also in the long process of recovery," said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. "We are in communication with the local and regional Baptist organizations and will collaborate to develop a unified response based on ongoing assessments."
 
Many within the global Baptist family were in The Bahamas in July for the BWA Annual Gathering and were blessed by the Bahamian hospitality.
 
"Our global Baptist family was in The Bahamas just two months ago for the BWA Annual Gathering. The Bahamians were incredible hosts and eager to share their beautiful country and culture with the world. Now it is time for us to eagerly respond during their time of need," said Rev. Dr. Elijah M. Brown, BWA General Secretary. "Our hearts are heavy for our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas and for all those on the American and Canadian East Coast who have been impacted. The BWA is committed to respond through prayer, aid, and support and calls upon all BWA Baptists to join us during this critical time of need."
 
Specific prayer needs include:
  • At least 45 people have died with the death toll likely to climb. Please pray for the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones. 
  • There are significant infrastructure needs, including temporary housing, safe and reliable electricity, and water purification systems.
  • The storm greatly disrupted tourism and other economic opportunities in The Bahamas. Please pray for the immediate financial needs of these families and for economic stability as they rebuild. 
  • Pray for the churches in these regions – many of which the buildings, members, and surrounding communities have been affected. Pray that they will be a witness to God's love and be equipped with the resources to restore what has been lost. 
  • Communication is still difficult. Communities and relief agencies are struggling to connect and remain in touch with friends and family in the affected areas. Please pray for efforts to restore the communication infrastructure as quickly as possible.
 
A prayer request list is available for download and distribution here.
 
If you wish to financially support relief efforts, visit bwanet.org/give to make a secure donation online.
 
 
Rev. Dr. William Thompson, President of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, voices a special prayer for The Bahamas.
 
 
Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest and longest-lasting storms on record in the Atlantic, has caused catastrophic damage in The Bahamas.
 
(Photo Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
 
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 240 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
 
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
 
 
Baptist World Alliance | BWANet.org
 

BWA Responds to Cyclone Idai

Baptist World Alliance Responds to Cyclone Idai
Devastation Continues Across Southern Africa
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA - March 29, 2019) Cyclone Idai, regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record, continues to cause devastation across southern Africa with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi the most significantly affected. In response to this disaster, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is seeking to support the Baptist conventions and unions in the impacted region as well as mobilizing disaster relief efforts through Baptist World Aid (BWAid) and the newly established Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD). BFAD's goal is to coordinate response efforts, create greater impact, and strengthen partnerships on the ground.
 
"We are working together to establish how best we can respond as the global Baptist body to the crisis caused by Cyclone Idai which has emerged across southern Africa. We will be working closely with the Baptist Convention of Mozambique and other Baptist agencies who are present in local communities to ensure a response that is best for everyone involved," said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. "At the heart of this response, we want to walk alongside people who are facing this crisis, grieving and vulnerable. We will be trusting God for wisdom, resources, and safety for all those involved."
 
Conway-Doel traveled to the region this week to assess specific needs, including a visit to the port city of Beira, Mozambique. Beira is home to Pastor Manuel Moises Quembo, General Secretary of the Baptist Convention of Mozambique.
 
"I live in Beira, the city that was most affected by the cyclone. We praise the Lord that our lives were spared," said Pastor Quembo. "After Cyclone Idai, many church buildings and pastors' houses were severely destroyed. The immediate needs are food and pure water followed by construction materials such as cement and zinc sheets for reconstruction. I thank you for your concern and willingness to support."
 
If you wish to financially support relief efforts, donations can be made securely online atBWANet.org/online-giving.
 
"It is during challenging times like this that we are reminded of both the responsibility and the privilege we have to bear one another's burdens," said Rev. Elijah M. Brown, BWA General Secretary. "I am grateful for the collaborative spirit among our brothers and sisters in Christ and the opportunity we have at the BWA to network Baptists to respond through prayer, aid, and support – not just today but in the years to come as these regions navigate the rebuilding process."
 
The BWA calls upon all BWA Baptists to join us in prayer about the following:
  • Over 650 people have died with the death toll likely to climb. Please pray for the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.
  • Multiple cholera cases have been discovered in Munhava, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the port city of Beira. Malaria is also on the rise, so please pray that these illnesses and others will not spread.
  • This will disrupt the harvest season, so impact on long-term livelihoods is significant. Please pray for the immediate needs of these families and for economic stability as they rebuild.
  • Pray for the churches in these regions – many whose buildings, members, and surrounding communities have been affected. Pray that they will be a witness to God's love and be equipped with the resources to restore what has been lost. 
  • Communication is still difficult. Communities and relief agencies are struggling to connect and remain in touch with friends and family in the affected areas. Please pray for efforts to restore the communication infrastructure as quickly as possible.
 
A prayer request list is available for download and distribution here.
 
###
 
 
Pictured:
Survivors clinging to buildings in the district of Buzi, Mozambique.
 
(Photo Credit / INGC)
 
 
Pictured:
The interior of a Baptist Church near Beira, Mozambique. The entire roof was ripped off by Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record.
 
(Photo Credit / Rachel Conway-Doel)
 
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
 
Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.