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

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

Appeals for Baptists to aid Haiti

A woman crosses a muddy street in downtown Port-au-Prince after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on 4 October 2016, bringing heavy rains and winds. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan AbassiThe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is appealing to the worldwide Baptist family to respond to the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, by making donations online, sending in checks by mail or making wire transfers by bank.

Haiti faced the brunt of the massive category four hurricane, resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 lives and some US$1 billion in damage. Thousands of Haitians are in shelters as hundreds of homes were destroyed in the Caribbean nation. It is expected the estimates in loss of life will rise as more reports come in.

Among the affected cities and towns were Cote de fer, Les Anglais, Tiburon, Roche à Bateaux, Dame Marie, Fond des Negres, Les Irois, Anse d'Aineaux, Cayes and Jeremie in Haiti’s southwest region.

 

There are concerns that the cholera disease, which had affected the country before the hurricane, will become more widespread and severe.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam assured Haitian Baptists “of our deep concern and our fervent prayers on your behalf. We stand in solidarity with you all and we pray that you will find God's grace sufficient for the crisis that you are passing through.”

BWA regional secretary for the Caribbean, Everton Jackson, is traveling to Haiti to do further assessment on the needs of the country. Callam asked Haitians to “do your best to receive him and to cooperate with him.” He said Jackson’s “report will significantly impact the level of cooperation that we will be able to offer you as you seek to help the people affected by the hurricane to begin the process of recovery.”

Other countries such as Jamaica, Cuba, Bahamas, and parts of the Southeast United States were also affected by Hurricane Matthew, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes to have formed in a decade.

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 10, 2016

Ethiopian Baptists request prayer

Baptists in Ethiopia are requesting prayer from the international Baptist community on recent happenings in the East African country.

Over the past two months, beginning on August 5, Ethiopia has been beset by unrest that has led to the loss of hundreds of lives and the arrest of thousands.

Anti-government protests took place over alleged human rights abuses, unfair distribution of wealth, political marginalization, land seizure by government, hundreds of extra-judicial killings by police and mass arrests, among other grievances.

“I am sending you this mail to request all Baptist families to join us in prayer about Ethiopia,” wrote Jima Dilbo, president of the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Ethiopia. “The situation here in our country is getting worse. Opposition against the incumbent government is increasing from time to time and the way government is responding so far is not constructive.”

As an example, Dilbo cited an incident where official reports state that 55 persons were killed in clashes with security forces during a gathering of some two million persons from the Oromo tribe. Dilbo said opposition sources claim the death toll from the incident was more than 500.

A six-month state of emergency was declared by the government in October.

“Please present our country and the situation we are in before the Almighty God, so that peace prevails in this difficult situation in Ethiopia!” Dilbo asked.

 Baptist World Alliance®
© October 11, 2016

Nominations for human rights award now open

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has begun the process of accepting nominations for the 2017 Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award. Nominations will close on December 16.

Any Baptist individual, church or organization can submit a nomination, and any Baptist is eligible to receive the award.

The award is intended to recognize and give visibility to men and women who have done outstanding work in defending and promoting human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Persons may not make nominations on their own behalf.

The awardee will be announced at the March 2017 BWA Executive Committee meeting and the award presented during the Annual Gathering in July 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The nominations form may be downloaded here on the BWA website.

 Baptist World Alliance®
©October 7, 2016