BWA Women’s director to retire

Patsy Davis, executive director of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department (BWA WD), is set to retire effective December 31, 2015, after working in that position for 17 years.

“She has initiated many projects and the global Baptist Women’s Day of Prayer grew into a recognized ministry that connected Baptist women to each other both in prayer and practical support,” said Ksenija Magda, president of the BWA Women’s Department.

“She has been appreciated by many women on all continents and under her leadership, the Women’s Department became an example of an effective global ministry within the Baptist World Alliance.”

“God called me many years ago to work with women, and he has blessed me these 17 years to be a part of the BWA WD,” Davis stated.

“The Women’s Department of the BWA, and in particular the Executive Board of the WD, appreciate Patsy’s many years of faithful service to women globally,” Magda declared. The BWA Women’s president “wish[es] that God, our Lord and Father, may continue to bless her and her work in the future.”

Prior to taking up her position at the BWA in 1998, Davis was a Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary for 21 years, serving as general secretary of the National Woman’s Missionary Union of Venezuela. She succeeded the late Willene Pierce, who died in March 2014, and who resigned the BWA post in July 1997.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 30, 2015

 

 

Baptist delegate at Catholic synod calls for pastoral compassion

Roy Medley, fraternal delegate of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) at the recent Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome, urged the gathering “to emphasize the pastoral nature of the ministry which is entrusted to the whole church.”

Medley, who is chair of the BWA Commission on Interfaith Relations and the Membership Committee, as well as a member of the BWA General Council and Executive Committee, emphasized that “there is no perfect family and no perfect marriage.”

Rather, “in our broken world, families are not only a source of great blessing, they can also be a source of great harm as when a father molests his daughters, or brothers and sisters fight over inheritance. This is the pastoral reality: Families have their blessings and their dysfunctions.”

Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, said the world longs for, but rarely expects, the presence of Christ. “Instead they see us abandoning them in the midst of their greatest personal struggles because of their irregular situations.”  

Medley, who is also chair of the National Council of Churches USA, had joined the fraternal delegates to address the synod. These included representatives from the Orthodox, Methodist, Disciples of Christ and other Christian traditions.

The gathering, which convened from October 4-25, was in continuity with a similar synod in October 2014. It included Roman Catholic bishops from around the globe to discuss important issues facing families today.

 

BWA represented at Synod on the Family in Rome

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is one of several global Christian organizations represented at the second Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome.

The gathering, which began on October 4, is in continuity with a similar synod in October 2014 and includes Roman Catholic bishops from around the globe to discuss important issues facing families today.

Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, chair of both the BWA Commission on Interfaith Relations and the Membership Committee, a member of the BWA General Council and Executive Committee, is the BWA fraternal delegate at the meetings in Rome.

Pope Francis opened the Synod on the Family with a reminder that it is not a forum where leaders come to an agreement, but a journey of openness to the Holy Spirit and “apostolic courage” against worldly temptations that can lead people away from the truth.

Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, the synod's relator general, examined current challenges to the family and marriage, the vocation of the family and the family's mission today.

Valerie Duval-Poujol, president of the Ecumenical Commission of the Protestant Federation of France who teaches biblical exegesis at the Catholic Institute of Paris and a member of the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity, represented the BWA at the October 2014 synod in Rome.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 8, 2015

Baptists release freedom and justice book

Engaging the Jubilee: Freedom and Justice Papers of the Baptist World Alliance (2010-2015), is now available for purchase.

The volume comprises papers by commission members of the Baptist World Alliance and guest presenters on issues of peace, human trafficking, gender equality, religious freedom, the environment and poverty, among others.

Authors and presenters are from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America, including past winners of BWA human rights awards, Lauran Bethell, Glen Stassen and Edgar Palacios.

Editors included Raimundo Barreto, former Baptist World Alliance (BWA) director of Freedom and Justice; Ken Sehested, founding director of Baptist Peace Fellowship; Luis Rivera-Pagan, former professor at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States; and Paul Hayes, senior pastor of Noank Baptist Church in Connecticut in the US.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam expressed “sincere appreciation for the faithfulness of Barreto in completing an assignment he began while he was on the BWA staff.”

Copies of Engaging the Jubilee may be obtained on Amazon.com.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 13, 2015

Baptists continue assistance to refugees in Europe and Middle East

Refugees receiving assistance from Baptists in Serbia

Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), has distributed more than US$65,000 in emergency refugee support in Europe in the month of September.

In addition to Germany, Hungary, Sweden and other European nations, Baptists in Serbia and Croatia are providing aid to some of the thousands of refugees that are pouring into these countries.

Dane Vidovic, general secretary of the Union of Baptist Churches in Serbia, clarified that refugee assistance has been given by Serbian Baptists over the past three years “because refugees from those countries are passing through Serbia all that time.” However, the situation has intensified over the past several months as refugees “are coming in hundreds and thousands. The situation became desperate, and we have intensified our involvement.”



Most refugees passing through Serbia “are from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Asian, Near East and African countries,” Vidovic told the BWA. He said church members have volunteered and congregations are distributing food, water and other needs.

In Croatia, some 30,000 refugees have entered the country, reported Željko Mraz, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Croatia. Mraz said the Croatian government has opened a refugee camp with a capacity for 4,000 persons and that the Baptist union received government permission to offer support to those inside the camp. In addition, Croatian Baptists are volunteering 14 students from its school nursing program to work along with the Red Cross.

“We want to be Christ's witnesses to our countrymen and foreigners passing through our country,” Mraz explained.

The 2015 European migrant crisis arose through the increasing number of refugees and migrants traveling to the European Union across the Mediterranean Sea or Southeast Europe. A majority of the refugees are from the Middle East, such as Syria, Yemen, and Iraq; and Africa, such as Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan.

Baptists in the Middle East are also extending assistance to refugees and other displaced persons in the region. The BWA has provided significantly large sums in relief in the region over the past several years.

“The needs both in Syria and in Lebanon are staggering and the situation gets more complex by the day,” said Alia Abboud, director of Development and Partner Relations for the Baptist-affiliated Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development.

Lebanese Baptists offer monthly sustenance to more than 2,000 Syrian families and 400 Iraqi families in Lebanon, nearly 6,000 families in Syria and more than 140 families inside Iraq. Support includes food distribution and health care, as well as vocational training and education for 300 Syrian refugee children. Special workshops are also held for women.

“Again and again, we are witnessing God’s hand at work both within our partner churches in Lebanon and in Syria, and through them,” Abboud said.

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

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

Baptist World Alliance®
© September 29, 2015