Prayer for South Africa

#FeesMustFall student protest in South AfricaBaptists around the world are encouraged to join the call of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) to engage in a “special united prayer on Sunday 30 October” for South Africa.

BUSA made the call to its own membership at the conclusion of its 2016 Assembly in early October. “We are all familiar with the many challenges facing our country and Christian community,” wrote BUSA President Patrick Diba and General Secretary Angelo Scheepers.

The two leaders made special reference to protests by students against high university fees, for “a peaceful and just solution to be achieved” and that “peace and social justice” will prevail.

BUSA hopes “many youth will respond to the claims of Jesus Christ.”

South Africa is facing severe drought, as well. While Diba and Scheepers praised God for recent rains, they asked that prayers be offered “for those regions, especially catchment areas and farming communities, which are still experiencing drought conditions.”

Churches were also urged to bear in mind and to pray about the severe financial challenges that BUSA faces.

Diba and Scheepers request “that you and your congregation will join with our Baptist family as, together, we seek the Lord’s intervention, forgiveness and blessing on our nation, churches and people.”

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 28, 2016

BWA launches podcast

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) launched its first podcast.

Titled, “Gifts from Global Baptists: Stories Engaging Churches in Conversation,” the podcast, a creation coming from the new Division on Mission, Evangelism and Justice (MEJ), focuses on the work and ministry of member bodies and churches in the BWA.

MEJ combines the former Division on Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection and the Division on Freedom and Justice.

Trisha Miller Manarin, new MEJ coordinator, said “our goal is to share stories from our Baptist brothers and sisters around the world, encouraging our churches to consider and explore new ministry possibilities.”

The podcast is available on the BWA website at www.bwanet.org.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 27, 2016

Swedish group learns of BWA freedom and justice work

Swedish team meets BWA staffThe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) welcomed an eight-member team from the Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities in Sweden (SST) to its international offices on October 7.

SST is a government agency that provides support for faith communities, enabling congregations to work actively with long-term focus on worship, education and spiritual and pastoral care.

The team visited the United States on a fact finding tour and visited the US Department of State. They sought, among other things, to determine how faith communities interact with other parts of the civil society, the expectations that society and the state have of faith communities and the work done by faith communities to combat anti-Semitism, islamophobia and xenophobia.

SST was particularly interested in BWA’s involvement in justice issues. BWA staff, led by General Secretary Neville Callam, offered a summary of the BWA’s work through its seven freedom and justice commissions as well as its involvement in the United Nations, human rights visits, representations and advocacy and recognition through its human rights awards.

The work SST does is particularly crucial at this time as Sweden has taken in the second highest number of Syrian and other refugees among countries in Europe. Christian churches, including the Uniting Church in Sweden, which includes Baptists, are playing a critical role in the care and settlement of these refugees.

As recently as September, the government of Sweden allocated the rough equivalent of some US$4 million “to civil society and religious communities to strengthen their activities that focus on asylum seekers, and for the introduction of new arrivals.”

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 14, 2016

Haiti needs urgent help

A church in southwestern Haiti destroyed by Hurricane MatthewEverton Jackson, Baptist World Alliance regional secretary for the Caribbean, indicated that Haiti needs urgent help after it was slammed by Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm that hit the nation with wind speed of 145 miles, or more than 230 kilometers, per hour.

Much of the damage occurred in Southwestern Haiti.

Jackson, who visited Haiti from October 7-10 at the request of BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, said “among the immediate needs are food, water, mattresses, clothes and building material.”

He told the BWA that “tents are needed to provide temporary accommodation for persons living in shelters, particularly those occupying schools and other public facilities.”


In addition, “medication and medical interventions are needed to monitor the health risks being posed in the aftermath of the hurricane, given Haiti’s vulnerability to cholera and other associated diseases.”

There is urgent need for clean water. Jackson, who is the executive secretary/treasurer for the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, noted that the absence of clean water is a matter of emergency. He sees the need for the construction of new wells.

A Baptist-run school in southwestern Haiti badly damaged by Hurricane MatthewA major concern is the number of schools affected. Churches in Haiti, including Baptists, are the backbone of the educational system. “Approximately 150 of these schools were damaged during the passage of the hurricane,” Jackson told the BWA. “A number of these schools will be out of commission for a while because of the extensive nature of the damage.” Church leaders are anxious to find alternative venues for classes.

“It was a heartrending experience to have gone to Haiti and witness the extent of the devastation occasioned by Hurricane Matthew,” Jackson observed. “Evidently, the country has not fully recovered from the earthquake that ravaged it some years ago in January 2010 nor the cholera outbreak and other intervening traumatic experiences of a catastrophic nature.”

The BWA is appealing to its global constituency to respond with urgency to the need.

Donations may be made online at www.bwanet.org/give or sent to:

Baptist World Aid
c/o Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046 USA

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 18, 2016

 

Baptists to observe BWA Day

Baptist churches and institutions are encouraged to observe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Day on February 4 or 5, 2017, depending on whether they worship on Saturday or Sunday.

The observance is aimed at affirming Baptist identity within the worldwide Christian family. Baptists are encouraged to pray for each other and to renew their commitment to cooperate with Baptists globally through the BWA.

The 2017 BWA Day worship materials have been prepared by Karen Gwynn Massey, associate dean for Masters Degree Programs and associate professor of Christian Education and Faith Development at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, in the United States. She is the holder of the Watkins Christian Foundation Chair at that institution.

Worship resources are available online on the BWA website. Various language translations will be added in due course.

Congregations and institutions are encouraged to share stories of their observance and worship experience by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 13, 2016