Baptists send emergency aid to Ecuador

Collapsed house in Guayaquil, 2016 Ecuador earthquake - Photo courtesy of Andes/César Muñoz

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is sending an initial sum of US$15,000 for emergency relief to Ecuador after a massive 7.8 earthquake hit the South American country late on April 16.

More than 400 were killed and more than 2,500 injured. A state of emergency was declared throughout the country.

“We would be very thankful if the BWA could help us with any kind of economic support to help us meet the great needs,” wrote Parrish Jacome, BWA regional secretary for South America and executive director of the Union of Baptists in Latin America. Jacome lives in Guayaquil, the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador.


“We have reports of destroyed church buildings and families of the churches that have lost their homes and some of their relatives,” Jacome said.

“The ravages are heartbreaking in 15 to 20 cities and coastal towns,” said Milton Bustos, president of the Baptist Convention of Ecuador. “We are coordinating the work through the Baptist Convention of Ecuador and its 15 regional associations and are gathering aid for the five regional Baptist associations that were affected,” he explained.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam assured the Ecuadorians of the support of the global Baptist family. “You can be assured of our prayers for all those affected by this difficult situation. We also want to assure you of our desire to express solidarity with you as you seek to respond to the needs that exist,” Callam told Bustos.

“May God grant patience to all those who have to deal with the consequences of the earthquake and strength to those who lead the recovery process. May the inexhaustible grace and mercy of God be made clear to all of you,” Callam said.

“As a Baptist family we express our commitment to help and solidarity in these difficult times. Together we can show God's love to people who are suffering,” declared Jorge Quinteros of Chile, a vice president of the BWA. “May God strengthen the Baptist people of this country and provide them the courage to encourage and comfort the afflicted.”

Donations may be made online at or sent to:
Baptist World Aid
c/o Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046 USA

Baptist World Alliance®
© April 19, 2016

Baptist World magazine wins award

For the second year in a row, Baptist World, the quarterly magazine of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), received an award from the Religion Communicators Council (RCC).

The periodical received the RCC Shoestring Award on March 31 during the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards Ceremony in New York City in the United States. The Shoestring Award “is given to one winner across all categories on the basis of the highest quality/best product, for the lowest cost.”

In 2015, the October/December 2014 issue of the magazine won an award of excellence from the RCC for its attractiveness, use of images and color and content.

The DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards recognize the achievements of RCC members who demonstrate excellence as religion communicators.

Presentations were made in several broad categories: periodicals, including newspapers, magazines and newsletters; public relations materials such as brochures, posters, booklets and annual reports; public relations/advertising campaigns; news and feature writing; graphic design, art and photography; audio and video, broadcast, non-broadcast and cable; digital communications; and social media.

Other Baptists received recognition at the award ceremony, an event held during the RCC annual convention, which was held from March 30 to April 3.

Brian Kaylor, vice chair of the BWA Communications Committee, won three Certificate of Merit awards: one for the partnership with Guatemalan Baptists in the February 2015 issue of the Churchnet digital magazine, and two for articles in Word & Way on the death penalty and on Union Mound Baptist Church.

Kaylor is generational engagement team leader for Churchnet and a contributing editor for Ethics Daily.

Word & Way, a newspaper published by Baptists in the state of Missouri in the United States, is edited by Bill Webb, a BWA Communications Committee member.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) picked up Awards of Excellence for its Brand Rollout public relations campaign and the Offering for Global Missions fundraising campaign, and Certificates of Merit for Military Challenge Coin in the Special Print Material subcategory and its Logo and Visual Identity System.

Among those recognized for their CBF work were Jeff Huett, Aaron Weaver, Candice Young, Carrie McGuffin and Travis Peterson.

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, based in Washington, DC, in the US, received Certificates of Merit for the James Dunn Obituary by Cherilyn Crowe and for Don Byrd’s Blog from the Capital.

An Award of Excellence was received by Philip Poole and Janica York Carter for their work on the Baptist-affiliated Samford University 2014-2015 Annual Report.

Eron Henry, BWA associate director of Communications and editor of Baptist World magazine, was elected to the RCC Board of Directors for the period 2016-2019.

Baptist World Alliance®
© April 8, 2016

BWA appoints new chief administrative officer to the UN

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has appointed Darrell Armstrong, a Baptist pastor in the state of New Jersey in the United States, as its chief administrative officer at the United Nations (UN). He succeeds attorney Mark Wiggs.

Armstrong, a BWA representative to the UN since 2013, will supervise the BWA team serving with the UN in New York, United States; Geneva, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria. He will determine who, from the list of approved BWA representatives, will participate in the various events in which BWA desires to participate.

An author and human rights advocate, he has had a longstanding commitment to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and teaching religious tolerance.

“I am delighted that Darrell has consented to take up this new responsibility on a voluntary basis,” BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said. “I am confident that Darrell has the experience, giftedness and enthusiasm to serve as requested.”

Armstrong is pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, New Jersey. In 2010, he was elected the first non-Presbyterian Trustee to Princeton Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees.

He holds degrees from Stanford University in California, Princeton Theological Seminary and The College of New Jersey.

Since 1974, the BWA has had Special Consultative Status at the UN through the Economic and Social Council.

BWA is also a member of the UN Committee of Nongovernmental Organizations, and enjoys consultative relationship with the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO), an international membership association.

The global organization has access to 41 nongovernmental organization (NGO) committees in New York, Geneva, and Vienna.

The BWA is also accredited as an NGO through the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI), which enables it to participate in briefings and receive announcements from DPI; is a member of the Committee of Religious NGOs; and collaborates with the Ecumenical Working Group that provides a forum for common work on issues of concern to UN representatives of Christian World Communions.

BWA UN involvement includes Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), presenting alternative human rights reports on particular UN Member States.

At Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012, BWA co-sponsored side events and submitted documents contributing to the focus of the discussions there.

The BWA has actively participated in the annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Baptist World Alliance®
© March 30, 2016

Baptists among those killed in suicide bombing in Pakistan


At least seven Baptists died in a bombingGulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore. The bomb was detonated by the park's main gate that killed more than 70 people on Easter Sunday, March 27, in the city of Lahore in Pakistan.

According to a Baptist World Alliance (BWA) source in Lahore, 74 persons, 54 of them Christians, were among those killed by a Taliban suicide bomber at a park where Christians were celebrating after attending Easter Sunday services in their respective congregations.

A total of 39 children had died, two of whom were Baptists.

The BWA source indicated that one Baptist member, a female, is still missing and unaccounted for.

“In Pakistan, it is getting very difficult for Christians to live and to breathe,” the source told the BWA.

He accused the government of not doing enough to protect Christians, a minority in the South Asian country, despite having known the threats they face. “Pakistan should have provided security to all minorities, but the Government has failed,” he said.

Pakistan, a majority-Muslim country with a population of almost 200 million, has just over two million Christians.

Baptist World Alliance®
© March 30, 2016


Baptists and Methodists hold third dialogue session in Germany

Participants at a preivous BWA/WMC dialogueThe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the World Methodist Council (WMC) will be engaged in the third session of the international theological dialogue between the two Christian World Communions. Both teams will meet at the Theological Seminary at Elstal, Germany, from February 3-10.

Previous sessions of the BWA/WMC dialogue were held in the United States in 2014 and in Singapore in 2015.

The week of meetings will cover the theme, “Making Disciples: Baptism as Christian Initiation” and will explore topics such as “Ecumenical conversations and agreements on baptism in Germany” and “Regional soundings on baptism from various parts of the world” such as Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Historical, theological, liturgical and ecumenical perspectives and understandings of baptism will be explored.

Relevant excerpts from international and regional ecumenical texts regarding baptism are being selected, collated and distributed, with participants encouraged to contribute material from their respective region.

Other activities will include a tour of the German capital of Berlin and a visit to the birthplace of Martin Luther. Protestants, Baptists included, will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.

Luther had nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, German, in 1517, an act that sparked the Protestant Reformation movement and a major break from the Roman Catholic Church.

The BWA delegation comprises dialogue Co-chair Curtis Freeman, research professor of theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke University Divinity School in the United States; Deji Isaac Ayegboyin, professor of Church History and African Christianity and at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan in Nigeria; Valérie Duval-Poujol, professor of biblical exegesis at the Catholic Institute, Paris, France, and director for its Institute for Bible and Orientalism; Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in the US; Stephen Holmes, senior lecturer in theology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland; and R. L. Hnuni, principal of Calcutta Bible Seminary in Kolkata, India.

Methodist representatives are dialogue Co-chair Tim Macquiban, minister of Wesley Church and superintendent minister in the United Kingdom; Paul W. Chilcote, academic dean and professor of historical theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in the US; Christine Gooden-Benguche, secretary, Jamaica District Conference, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas; Lauren Claire Matthew, minister in the Umngeni Circuit, Natal Coastal District in South Africa, district supervisor of studies of the General Committee of Education for Mission and president of the Youth and Young Adult Committee of the WMC; Ulrike Schuler, professor for Church History, Methodism, and Ecumenism at Reutlingen School of Theology in Germany; and Malcolm Tan, pastor, Barker Road Methodist Church in Singapore.

BWA director of Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection, Fausto Vasconcelos, who serves as co-secretary along with Paul Chilcote, will also be present.

Baptist World Alliance®
© February 2, 2016