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

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

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

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

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