FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – March 12, 2021)
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) concluded its Executive Committee Sessions this week, which included over 80 participants from more than 30 countries. In response to the ongoing travel challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership pivoted to a virtual gathering. Committees met over the last month, culminating in this week’s gathering for prayer, planning, reporting, and fellowship.
“While we look forward to resuming in-person meetings in the future, we are grateful for the technology that makes virtual events possible,” said Carolina Mangieri, BWA Director of Global Events and Fellowship. “We will continue to make virtual participation an option in the future to ensure the global work of the BWA continues even when faced with challenging circumstances.”
BWA President Tomás Mackey began the meetings with an inspiring devotional from Colossians 3:11, citing the theological richness and ministerial implications of “Christ is all and is in all.”
“To confess that Jesus is all and is in all is to incorporate human beings to the fullest sense of life, to agape love, to the greatest recognition of their human dignity,” said Mackey. “Pain, injustice, and cruelty are realities. To ignore such realities is tragic. But it is more tragic to ignore the reality that Colossians 3:11 teaches – Christ is all, and is in all.”
General Secretary Elijah Brown reported on the BWA’s impact in 2020, reporting that it was a pivotal year as leadership sought innovative ways to respond to a hurting world. He highlighted impact in each of the BWA’s five core ministry areas with a special focus on COVID-19 response.
“We launched the Standing Together Global Response Plan in March, which included a rapidly-organized distribution of 132 emergency grants to Baptists in 82 countries, more aid grants than any other year in our 100-year history,” said Brown.
Brown also presented information about a more integrated incorporation of BWA Women into the ministry of the BWA, pointing to an end result that would create a more collaborative, strategic, and fiduciary alignment in ministering together. Having been already unanimously approved by the BWA Women Continental Union Presidents, the proposed memorandum of understanding was also unanimously approved by the Executive Committee.
“There’s a positive feeling among all the women’s Continental Union Presidents,” said BWA Women President Karen Wilson. “We are so excited about working together and supporting one another in ministry. It can’t be lost that today is International Women’s Day, and I think such a vote of affirmation is particularly appropriate.”
The Executive Committee also welcomed and prayed over new BWA team appointees, including BWAid Director Marsha Scipio and Horizons team members Koffi Soké Kpomgbe, Baptist John Prakash, and Aruna Priya. These new team members come respectively from Trinidad and Tobago, Togo, and India. Anslem Warrick, newly elected Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, was also formally ratified as a BWA Regional Secretary.
The Budget and Finance Committee noted that even in the uncertainties of a global pandemic and with BWAid doubling the amount of aid it disbursed around the world, BWA finished the year with a financially positive balance. Affirming the provision of the Lord, the Executive Committee continued to urge financial generosity in order to meet the many ministry needs around the world.
The Membership Committee recommended three member bodies for membership consideration: Equatorial Guinea Baptist Church in Equatorial Guinea, Baptist Evangelical Federation of Guadeloupe in Guadeloupe, and Kaw Thoo Lei Karen Baptist Churches located along the Thai/Myanmar border.
Established in 1982, Equatorial Guinea Baptist Church is a union of 158 people in four churches. Formed in 1970, Baptist Evangelical Churches Federation of Guadeloupe is a group of 1,100 members in 15 churches. Kaw Thoo Lei Karen Baptist Churches joined together in 1983 and currently includes 18,208 members across 87 churches. Each group’s application was unanimously approved for presentation to the General Council who will vote on final affirmation in October.
“It is a joy to work alongside each of our 241 member bodies, and we are excited about the opportunity to grow that number,” said Julie Justus, Director of Global Partnerships and Unity. “We look forward to presenting these applicants to the General Council for their approval later this year and continuing to fulfill our mission to network Baptists to impact the world for Christ.”
To learn more about the global ministry of the Baptist World Alliance, visit BaptistWorld.org.
2020-2021 Baptist World Alliance Ministry Update
The ministry update includes impact reports from each of the BWA’s five core ministry areas as well as a financial overview.