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

Callam appoints meeting planning manager

Carolina MangieriCarolina Mangieri, a Baptist World Alliance (BWA) member of staff since 2004, assumes the full position of Meeting Planning Manager beginning October 1.

The appointment was made by BWA General Secretary Neville Callam following a decision of the Executive Committee in Vancouver, Canada, in July, that “the General Secretary will make interim staffing arrangements to continue the work of the BWA while the Executive Task Group does its work.”

The task group is to take a comprehensive look at BWA staffing and submit its recommendations not later than 2018. The general secretary can fill vacancies that arise on an interim basis.

Mangieri will, in addition to the Meeting Planning portfolio, assume staff leadership for selected aspects of the work of the BWA Youth Department while the task group fulfills its mandate.

The combination of responsibilities for the Youth Department and the Conference portfolio follow the work of the BWA 21st Century Committee and the Implementation Task Force several years ago. This caused Mangieri’s role in the Conference Office to include service to the BWA Youth Department.

Mangieri served two years as administrative assistant in the Division on Promotion and Development and in a similar role in the BWA Conference Office over the last 10 years.

“In the position she occupied in the Youth Department/Conference Office, Carolina has been steady and reliable and has contributed significantly to the success of BWA's congresses, Annual Gatherings, youth conferences and executive committee meetings,” Callam said.

Mangieri's Meeting Planning portfolio will include logistical responsibility for BWA events, including the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE) and BWA-sponsored training events and receptions.

“Carolina has drawn on her training in public relations and hotel management at the Universidad Argentina John F. Kennedy and the Instituto Superior en Turismo Perito Moreno, respectively,” Callam stated. “Over the years, BWA had made good use of her multi-lingual skills that were honed, starting in her native Argentina.”

Baptist World Alliance®
©September 30, 2016

BWA appoints coordinator for mission and justice

Trisha Miller Manarin of Virginia, in the United States, has been appointed Baptist World Alliance (BWA) coordinator for the Division on Mission, Evangelism and Justice (MEJ).

The appointment was made by BWA General Secretary Neville Callam following a decision of the Executive Committee in Vancouver, Canada, in July that “the General Secretary will make interim staffing arrangements to continue the work of the BWA while the Executive Task Group does its work.”

The task group is to take a comprehensive look at BWA staffing and submit its recommendations not later than 2018. The general secretary can fill vacancies that arise on an interim basis.

Manarin commences duties on September 1 upon the retirement of Fausto Vasconcelos, who was director of the Division on Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection (METR) from April 2006 to August 31 this year. She will work on a part time basis.


The MEJ division is a combination of METR and the division on Freedom and Justice (F&J), which has remained vacant since 2014 after Director Raimundo Barreto resigned to take up a professorship at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, in the US. F&J was the newest BWA division after it was formally created in 2008.

“Over the last nine years, I have gotten to know Trisha and her interest in, and commitment to, BWA and its mission,” Callam said. “Her intellectual gifts and her communications and organizational skills will prove helpful to the organization as we inaugurate the new Division on Mission, Evangelism and Justice.”

Manarin is executive coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and director of supervised ministry and an adjunct professor at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies. She is a member of the BWA Commission on Mission and was elected a vice president of the North America Baptist Fellowship (NABF) in July 2016 after previously being NABF recording secretary.

She holds a degree in music education and vocal performance from Samford University in Alabama, USA, a master’s degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Pennsylvania and a doctoral degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, both in the United States.

Her husband, Tim, sits on the BWA Commission on Human Rights Advocacy. They are the parents of two sons and a daughter.

Baptist World Alliance®
©September 2, 2016

BWA among global gathering on peace and justice in Italy

BWA Vice President Dimitrina Oprenova being greeted by Pope Francis in Assisi, ItalyDimitrina Oprenova of Bulgaria, a vice president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), was among a global gathering of 450 religious leaders of various Christian and faith traditions at the "THIRST FOR PEACE: Religions and Cultures in dialogue" in Assisi, Italy, from September 18-20.

Hosted by Pope Francis I, the event explored justice and peace issues such as economic inequality, poverty, war, terrorism, the integration of migrants and Christian-Muslim relationships.

Specific concerns, including conflicts and wars in Iraq, the horrors in Aleppo, Syria, the aftermath of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, and the refugee challenges facing Europe, were also explored.


Oprenova, who was appointed by BWA General Secretary Neville Callam to represent him at the event, reported that “the spirit…was one of respect and value for all present.”

She said that among those invited to share in the event was “a group of refugees from countries that are experiencing tragedies of war.”

Pope Francis hosted prayers attended by Christian leaders and representatives, including Oprenova of the BWA; Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomew I; Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury; Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East; and Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

“All main Orthodox, Protestant [and] Evangelical representatives sat at the very center of the podium from where the service was held, including the Baptist representative,” Oprenova confirmed.

“An Appeal for Peace was issued, read and then signed by the representatives,” Oprenova declared. “Small scrolls of the appeal were symbolically passed from the spiritual to the political leaders with the help of children. Young children were invited to come to the podium where the faith representatives gave the scroll appeals to the children who in return delivered it to the politicians and representatives sitting in the front rows.”

The 2016 gathering in Assisi was the 30th anniversary of the Day of Prayer for Peace promoted by Pope John Paul II in October 1986, where representatives of various religious traditions and cultures met for three days of dialogue and prayer.

The BWA attended prior meetings to follow the tradition of the 1986 gathering. In October 2011, General Secretary Callam and former President John Upton were among approximately 300 religious leaders who gathered in Assisi to participate in the Day of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World.

Baptist World Alliance®
©September 27, 2016

Baptists join others in mission during Rio Summer Games

Baptists, along with other Christian traditions in Brazil, are engaged in mission outreach to the city of Rio de Janeiro and its visitors during the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympic Games will formally run from August 5-21 while the Paralympics will be held September 7-18.

More than 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees are expected to participate in the Summer Olympics.

Dubbed Open Arms Movement (Movimento Braços Abertos) or MBA 2016, the mission initiative seeks to connect and coordinate “the involvement of evangelical churches and agencies in the proclamation of gospel before and during the Great Sport Events that will take place in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.”

Declaring that “the Body of Christ will have a unique opportunity,” persons were encouraged to volunteer through prayer, training, giving and active witnessing.

It is a “unique opportunity to do missionary work or cross-cultural evangelism … and to proclaim the love of God by a culturally relevant way for those who are coming from other countries, including those countries considered closed to the gospel,” the planners stated.

In preparation, prayer vigils were held on the second Friday of each month. “Christians from different churches, evangelical organizations and missionary agencies [gathered] at the sanctuary of a different church denomination.” Vigils were held throughout the night, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

“We pray for Rio de Janeiro city and state, Brazil and everything else we are going to do,” the organizers stated.

Participating groups include the Carioca (City of Rio) Baptist Convention, part of the Brazilian Baptist Convention, along with the Salvation Army, the Assemblies of God, other Christian traditions, mission agencies, parachurch groups and Christian athletes’ organizations.

Baptist church groups from outside Brazil, such as the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society, have also planned short term mission trips to Rio to coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Baptist World Alliance®
© August 5, 2016