Prominent Baptist layman memorialized

Christians need to avoid the extremes of utopianism and cynicism if they are to live in a world marked by ambiguity, said Timothy George, founding dean and professor of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, in the United States.

George delivered the homily at the memorial service for Charles “Chuck” Colson on May 16. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship International and a member of First Baptist Church in Naples, Florida, died on April 21 from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage.

George, who is chair of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Commission on Doctrine and Church Unity, told the congregation that believers have the assurance of God’s promise in a world characterized by both light and darkness. He indicated that persons such as Colson, John Stott, Martin Luther King, and Billy Graham provide witness of God’s rich provision. These persons, he said, are signposts along the road of God’s providential care on life’s pilgrimage.

In her tribute, Colson’s daughter, Emily, described her father’s commitment to his family and spoke of the conviction he shared while he was yet alive, that “death is the culmination of life; it is a homecoming, a celebration.”

The service featured tributes from Danny Croce of New Hope Correctional Ministry and  Albert Quie, former Governor of the US State of Minnesota and former member of the US House of Representatives.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, who attended the memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, said “it was a fitting tribute to one of the many outstanding Baptist laypersons whose witness to Christ's transforming power continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration.”

Colson was a special counsel to US President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He was imprisoned for seven months for his role in the Watergate affair that led to the resignation of Nixon in 1974. After his release, he became a noted Evangelical Christian leader and cultural commentator. Most notably, he founded Prison Fellowship International in 1976, an outreach ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. He also helped to form Justice Fellowship to push for legislative reforms in the US criminal justice system.


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© Baptist World Alliance
May 17, 2012


Callam calls for rethink on ethnicity

Christian unity may require rethinking the use of the language of ethnicity, said Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Neville Callam, at a lecture in Texas in the United States.

Callam, who delivered the annual T. B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics at Hardin-Simmons University’s (HSU) Logsdon Theological Seminary in Abilene, Texas, in April, argued “that terms like ‘ethnic’ or ‘ethnicity’ are not as unproblematic as some may think.”

In his first lecture, titled, Ethnicity: Establishing Borders of Exclusion, Callam identified three principal understandings of ethnicity and suggested that terms such as “ethnic” and “ethnicity” may be understood as mythical concepts that play a major role in social differentiation, and may actually be used to promote negative stereotypes.

While the meaning of “ethnic churches” is not used in the same way by those who adopt it, it appears “that [the] designation is reserved for churches formed by immigrant people or for persons deemed to be minorities in their residential context,” Callam said. Callam asked that care be taken in the use of the language of ethnicity and offered suggestions on how this can be achieved.

In his second lecture, entitled Communion: Celebrating Inclusive Community, Callam posited that Holy Communion is a community meal that potentially can  overcome boundaries that Christians construct through the use of ethnic categories.

The meaning of the Holy Communion as a community-defining and solidarity-conferring meal, he said, “implies that Christians need to deconstruct their understanding of ethnicity in order to enable the acknowledgement of our common bond in Christ Jesus.” In this way, he continued, “the Lord’s Supper will be a celebration of grace, a banquet of love, and a festival of solidarity.

The T. B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics is an annual lecture series presented by Logsdon Seminary and The Logsdon School of Theology of HSU. The lectures seek to honor the legacy of Dr. T.B. Maston, longtime professor of Christian ethics and pioneering Baptist ethicist, known for his writing and teaching in the areas of biblical ethics, race relations, family life, church and state, and character formation.


© Baptist World Alliance
May 9, 2012

Former General Secretary's Visits

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Sri Lanka

In July 2017, the general secretary made an official visit to the Sri Lanka Baptist Union (Sangamaya).

Sierra Leone

In February 2017, the general secretary made an official visit to the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone.


In December 2016 the general secretary spoke at the commencement service for East Texas Baptist University (ETBU).
Below he is pictured with ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn.


Egyptian Delegation

In October 2016, the general secretary was pleased to greet the Egyptian delegation led by Andrea Stephanous, (third right), President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt to the BWA office. With him were Jennifer Cate (second left), Executive Director of Hands along the Nile Development Services, Inc. and General Director of Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) and Samira Luka (right) and her associate Michael El Daba (left) from CEOSS.

Sweden's Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities

In October 2016, the general secretary met with Sweden's Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities. The government agency provides support for faith communities.

Himalayan Baptist Church, Germantown, Maryland, USA

In September 2016, the general secretary met with Rev. Dr. Prakash Meghi Gurung of Himalayan Baptist Church at the BWA office.


In August 2016, the general secretary attended the General Assembly of All Africa Baptist Fellowship in Accra, Ghana.

Below, the wife of the Ghanaian President addresses the AABF 2016 Assembly.


Below, leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention together with BWA President, Paul Msiza, General Secretary Callam, and Past President of the Baptist Union, Kingsley Appiagyei.


In August 2016, the general secretary attended the 6th Assembly of the Baptist Convention of Namibia where he spoke on Baptist beliefs,  presence and mission around the world


In November 2015 the General Secretary spoke at the 40th anniversary of the St. George’s Baptist Church and by extension the Grenada Baptist Association.

 Emmanuel Baptist Church of Ethiopia 

The General Secretary recently hosted Jima Dilbo, President of Emmanuel Baptist Church of Ethiopia, at the BWA Office. The Emmanuel Baptist Church of Ethiopia joined the BWA in 2014. This new member body has 60 churches with 35,000 members.

 BWA Women's Department

In September the General Secretary met with leaders of the BWA Women's Department (BWA WD). Pictured left to right: Moreen Sharp – North American Baptist Women's Union President, Kathy James – BWA WD Secretary/Treasurer, Neville Callam – BWA General Secretary, Ksenija Magda – BWA WD President, Precy Caronongan – Asian Baptist Women's Union President.


Callam attended the Taizé Community's Jubilee events.

The General Secretary with Elke May, Father Alois, Thorsten May, Jim Johnson and Jubaraj Das


 South Africa

Callam with Baptist Convention of Kenya General Secretary Peter Olonapa at the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) assembly in Port Shepstone on July 20, 2015. BUSA General Secretary Angelo Scheepers and his wife, Naomi, share lens with Olonapa.


Washington, DC, USA

Callam participated in the Jamaica 2015 Emancipation Service in Washington, D.C.



Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), paid a courtesy call on the BWA general secretary at the BWA Office in Falls Church, Virginia, USA. In the photograph above, Dr. Perkins and Dr. Kip Banks, interim general secretary of the PNBC pose in the BWA library around a sculpture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Eden. The person who posed for the sculpture was the Rev. Dr. L. Vencheal Booth, whom Christianity Today (March, 2002) described as “the man most responsible for the founding of the PNBC.”


Callam fellowships with German Baptists celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

The Netherlands

Callam gathers with General Secretaries of Christian World Communions in Amersfoort, The Netherlands

California, USA

In October 2014 the General Secretary addressed the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles Annual Meeting in Glendale, California


The 2014 BWA Annual Gathering in Izmir, Turkey


Callam attended the centenary celebrations of the Nigerian Baptist Convention in April/May 2014

Callam attended meetings in Ethiopia in May 2014 that founded the Fellowship of Baptists in Ethiopia formed by seven autonomous groups in the country that were coming together for the first time.

Caribbean Baptist Fellowship

The General Secretary  attended the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship Executive Committee in Prospect, St Vincent & the Grenadines. Below, the General Secretary with delegates attending the CBF Executive Meeting.


The General Secretary  made a visit to the Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia. While there, he met with one of the leaders of Parliament, addressed the Baptist union's Mission Conference in Tartu, preached at Kalju Baptist Church in Tallinn and  was presented a gift at the end of the mission conference

EBF Council 2013

Callam attended the European Baptist Federation (EBF) Council meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia. Pictures include his address to the council, he leading prayer for new EBF President Otniel Bunaciu, with EBF General Secretary Tony Peck and former EBF President Hans Guderian and his wife, Astrid, and with the leadership of the European Baptist Women's Union

Baptist-Methodist Dialogue

In August 2013, following the Executive Committee’s reauthorization to engage in dialogue with the World Methodist Council (WMC), a meeting was held between the BWA and the WMC. The small BWA team comprising General Secretary Callam, Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission Chair Timothy George, Curtis Freeman and Stephen Holmes met with a similar team from the WMC to set out the timetable and agenda for the dialogue.

Below, the BWA delegation together with  Tim Mcquiban in London.


In March 2009 the General Secretary made an official visit to Oleksandr Turchynov when he was deputy prime minister of Ukraine. Turchynov, a Baptist church elder, is the now the interim president of the country.

Caribbean immigrants struggle to find church home in the US

Delroy Reid- Salmon, president of the Caribbean Diaspora Baptist Clergy Association, addressing a Caribbean conference of Caribbean immigrants in NY recentlyCaribbean Baptist immigrants have difficulty fitting into Baptist churches in the United States. This was revealed at a recent conference of Caribbean immigrants in New York City.

The April National Gathering of Caribbean Diaspora Baptist clergy, leaders and churches was billed as "a missional event to acknowledge and initiate discussion on the emergence, contribution and role of Baptists in the continuum of the Caribbean Diaspora."

A common theme expressed by Caribbean immigrants at the conference was the difficulty to find a "church home" upon migrating into the US. Raymond Anglin, a general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) during the 1980s, stated that he "experienced a kind of culture shock upon moving to the United States." The Baptist churches he encountered in Florida and Georgia were "different from his experience in Jamaica in terms of authority, leadership, the attitude to androle of women, and in understanding of training."



Anglin, who says he now "has a fulfilling ministry as a Presbyterian pastor," indicated that his background in Jamaica prepared him for his current situation, as it "gave him an ecumenical dimension of ministry."

Delroy Murdock, pastor of a United Methodist Church in New York and a former Baptist pastor from Jamaica, said that, upon coming to the US, he "could not find a Baptist church that looked anything like those in Jamaica." Edward Jenkins, another Methodist pastor in New York who was a Baptist pastor in the Caribbean, said that he sees himself "as a Baptist in a Methodist church."

Banmattie Ram, a Baptist pastor from Guyana, said most of the Baptist churches she encountered in the US "were different from her experience in the Caribbean," but stated that "one must do ministry wherever one is."Sam and Lola Simpson being recognized for their pioneering work in planting churches that minister to Caribbean immigrants in NY. Making the presentation is noted Caribbean church historian, Horace Russell, left

Karl Johnson, general secretary of the JBU, said that the JBU is currently exploring ways of engaging in mission with Baptists in the Diaspora. He acknowledged that "the JBU has not grasped the opportunity presented by Caribbean people in the Diaspora." He said that the JBU had "dropped the ball and needed to repent and return to a mission consciousness."

Everton Jackson, Baptist World Alliance (BWA) regional secretary for the Caribbean and executive secretary/treasurer of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship (CBF), said that "there are tremendous possibilities for cooperation between CBF and the Caribbean Diaspora churches." This is possible, he said, because Caribbean people, whether in the Caribbean or elsewhere, "share a common history" as well as "common needs for affirmation, self actualization, [and] a theology that speaks to our context."

Jackson informed participants at the conference that the CBF has plans to enter into collaboration with the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI) to establish a Centre for Caribbean Baptist Studies at the institution. The UTCWI, an ecumenical college that is part of the University of the West Indies, the main university in the English speaking Caribbean, trains many of the Caribbean Baptist pastors.

Eron Henry, associate director of communications for the BWA, indicated that Caribbean Baptists in general, including those in the Diaspora, have played important roles in the BWA and have held significant positions within the international Baptist organization. Henry made special mention of current BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, Caribbean Baptists who are BWA vice presidents, and those who sit on committees and commissions of the BWA.

Delroy Reid-Salmon, president of the Caribbean Diaspora Baptist Clergy Association, which convened the conference, announced that his group is spearheading the establishment of a chair in the name of Horace Russell at the UTCWI. Russell is a past president of the school in the 1970s and later became a vice president and professor of historical theological at Palmer Theological Seminary near Philadelphia in the US.

Samuel Simpson, a Jamaican immigrant to the US, was honored for helping to pioneer the formation of Baptist churches that ministered to Caribbean immigrants in New York City, beginning in the 1960s. He recently retired as pastor of the Bronx and Wake Eden Baptist churches, two of the churches he founded.

© Baptist World Alliance
May 9, 2012