|From the General Secretary |
When Baptists Get Together
By Neville Callam
Recently, I was in Texas to attend the annual General Committee meeting of the North American Baptist Fellowship. The meeting took place at the administrative center of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Many features of the gathering reflect what great Baptist meetings look like.
First, participants benefitted from timely communication prior to the meeting and careful preparation that marked the organization of the meeting. Too often, we are inclined to overlook the hard work done by those who are responsible to plan and execute decisions to ensure fulfillment of purpose in meetings in which we participate. Theirs is an offering to God for which we need to give thanks to our Maker.
Second, there was the generous hospitality that seems to be a Texas trademark. Everyone concerned wanted to be the kind of host God wants us to be. Generous welcome to those in attendance and readiness to be truly helpful to the stranger are in keeping with the finest traditions of Christian hospitality. Admirably, many authors have reflected helpfully on this subject, but more needs to be said about what it means to "receive one another just as Christ has received us in order to bring praise to God"(Romans 15:7). An evening with Gary Cook and his associates at the Dallas Baptist University was an excellent complement to the delightful experience.
Third, the meeting was an exercise in shared fellowship and in relationship building. This does not mean that people did not feel free to express their convictions; what it means is that convictions were stated responsibly. One sensed that participants cared as much for each other as for their own treasured perspectives. In addition, the meeting benefited from the wonderful sense of humor that was in evidence. Indeed, with the participants not taking themselves too seriously and so being able to laugh at a joke made at their expense, the warm spirit marking the meeting was worth celebrating. Participants at meetings can conduct themselves as friends rather than combatants.
Fourth, those who presented reports did not appear to be making a show of their self-importance. They stuck to the job, focused on the matter at hand, and delighted the gathering with visible illustrations that enlivened the proceedings. When you add all the features of the meeting, it does not surprise anyone if those who presented reports managed generous responses to questions raised of them.
Fifth, there were many moments of inspiration. Thoughtful meditations framed the proceedings. The signs of adequate and meaningful preparation were abundantly clear and participants in the meetings were the glad beneficiaries. How refreshing it is to hear fresh perspectives from the Bible presented by interpreters who provide spiritual nourishment for their hearers after having dug deep into the Word!
We could say much more about that NABF gathering which provides a model for such meetings. Participating in meetings like this is an enriching experience.
Many of us have to attend frequent meetings and this requires enormous discipline. Since we have to spend so much time in necessary meetings, must we not seek to make the meetings the sort of experience that illustrates the love we know, the common life we lead, and the common hope we cherish?
What can one honestly say about the meetings you organize and the nature of the contribution you make at the meetings you attend?
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Nagaland Baptist Church Council
The first Baptist church in the Northeastern state of Nagaland in India was established in 1872. Today, 65 percent of the citizens of Nagaland are Christians. Of the native Nagas themselves, 90 percent are Christians, the majority of them Baptists, giving rise to the claim that Nagaland "is the most Baptist state in the world."
The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) consists of more than 20 other conventions or church councils. The NBCC and its affiliate conventions have sent missionaries into Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, and throughout India.
For instance, the Chakesang Baptist Church Council, one of the conventions affiliated with the NBCC, has planted more than 340 churches in two other Indian states, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and has sent more than 80 missionaries into India and other countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal.
As Nagaland is beset by longstanding conflicts and disputes related to autonomy issues, the NBCC has played important roles in addressing justice and human rights violation concerns, the promotion of peace and conflict transformation, and in enhancing mutual understanding and partnerships across tribal and denominational boundaries.
The NBCC is also heavily involved in the training of youth, women, lay leaders and pastors; it provides substance abuse and HIV/AIDS education and related caring services; runs agricultural and economic development projects; and promotes church-based self-reliance projects.
The NBCC has approximately 500,000 members in more than 1,400 churches. Back to top
Mission is at the core of the Bethel Baptist Church in St. Andrew, Jamaica. Founded in 1954, Bethel has planted three other churches, Mona, New Haven and Greater Portmore, all of which have become strong churches in their own right.
Bethel Baptist Church
Half Way Tree, St. Andrew, Jamaica
Bethel's healing ministry includes a medical clinic, a pharmacy, as well as psychiatric care and psychological counseling, staffed by a team of full time doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians.
Bethel, a BWA Global Impact Church, has founded the Bethel Foundation, which raises funds for the healing ministry; the Bethel Lay Institute, which offers training in Christian beliefs; and the Bethel Baptist Thrift Cooperative, which offers savings accounts, share accounts and loans.
The social work department of the church provides food, clothing, medical assistance and monetary gifts. The department runs a feeding program for indigents and for shut-in members. The lunch ministry offers meals at affordable prices for students and workers in Half Way Tree, a major thoroughfare where it is located.
Members of Bethel have been on mission trips to Haiti, Guyana, and Panama, and its youth ministry sent its steel band to perform at the BWA Youth Conference in Hong Kong in 2004
To Gary Nelson, general secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries and a vice resident of the Baptist World Alliance, who will assume the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto , effective July 1, 2010.
To the following churches for Haiti relief:
$33,200 South Main Baptist Church, Pasadena, CA
$6,000-7,000 Austin Heights Baptist Nacogdoches, TX
Central Baptist Church, Bearden, TN
$4,000-$5,999 First Baptist Church, Jasper, GA
Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
Shades Crest Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
McLean Baptist Church, McLean, VA
$2,000-3,999 Ash Creek Baptist Church, Azle, TX
Broadus Memorial Baptist, Charlottesville, VA
First Baptist Church, Fitzgerald, GA
First Baptist Church, Middletown, KY
First Baptist Church, Tryon, NC
First Baptist Church, Woodville, TX
Immanuel Baptist Church, Nashville, TN
Immanuel Baptist Church, Paducah, KY
Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, VA
Weatherly Heights Baptist, Huntsville, VA
$20,000 Far East Broadcasting Company
$4,174.89 Dallas Baptist University
To all individuals, churches, institutions and conventions and unions that have made contributions to the Haiti relief fund
Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the month of February |
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Democratic Republic of Congo
Water Tanks for People of Rusayo - 21,974.00
Goats for IDP Resettlement - 5,000.00
Training of Nurses - 3,264.00
Integrated Social Development - Mymensingh - 25,415.00
Food for Work Project - 8,050.00
Monthly Prayer Guide
Each week, the staff of the Baptist World Alliance prays for conventions and unions throughout the world.
We invite all other Baptist conventions and unions, and individual Baptists everywhere, to join us in these prayers.
For the month of March we will remember the following:
Baptist Union of Austria
Union of Baptist Churches in Switzerland
The Christians and people of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino
Myanmar Baptist Convention
Self Supporting Kavin BMS (Myanmar)
12th District of Church of Christ in Thailand
Thailand Baptist Convention
Thailand Karen Baptist Convention
Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention
Cambodian Baptist Union
The Christians and people of Laos and Vietnam
Baptist Convention of Hong Kong
Macau Baptist Association
The Christians and people of China
March 28-April 3
Malaysia Baptist Convention
Singapore Baptist Convention
The Christians and people of Brunei
Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee, Falls Church, Virginia, USA, March 8-10
European Baptist Federation Executive Committee, Belgrade, Serbia, March 18-20
Caribbean Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, Montego Bay, Jamaica, March 18-21
BWA Living Water Conference, Havana, Cuba, March 23-26
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