|From the General Secretary |
Reason to Rejoice
By Neville Callam
Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town
and spend a year there, doing business and making money.' Yet you do not even
know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears
for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wishes,
we will live and do this or that' (James 4:13-15, NRSV).
The signs began to appear on April 13, while I was on the road to London Heathrow airport. Unknown to the traveler, Eyjafjallajokull had erupted in Iceland and what was to happen in international travel as a result of human response to the volcano could hardly have been anticipated. The disruption that resulted was astonishing. What the signs along the road to London yelled out was true: "Heathrow Airport Closed!"
Carefully developed plans were thrown into chaos. Precise scheduling, bearing in mind "all the variables," was immediately rendered meaningless. Contacts needed to be made to cancel appointments; apologies needed to be sent to promoters of events that had been well canvassed to include one's participation.
How could volcanic activity happening so far away affect so many people?
Airline passenger travel was rescheduled again and again until, at last, it was possible to access air space over Western Europe.
When the all clear was given and passenger admission into a re-opened Heathrow was allowed, the familiar assumption that one was going to take off as scheduled for an anticipated destination immediately evaporated. All of a sudden, there was room for doubt. One was not now as certain about previous accustomed taken-for-granted assumptions as before. I remembered James 4:13-15 on which I haven't heard a sermon for a long time.
The truth is, we do not have as much control over our schedule as we like to think. We cannot be sure of what will happen tomorrow! If this is true - and it is - should we not heed the exhortation in James 4:13-15?
Perhaps one of the lessons from the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland is that we should allow room for humility as we make our plans because, after all, we do not have as much control over our world and our schedule as we like to think. We are far more dependent on sources outside of ourselves than we readily admit. We are far more subject to the vagaries of life than appears at first.
We can remain confident, however, that when our life is in God's care and our plans are in accord with God's will, whatever happens, we need not resort to excessive anxiety. In the midst of the biggest disappointments, God sends many angels our way and, if we are attentive to what God is doing, we discover we have many more new reasons to give thanks for God's surprising provisions.
May God bless the many persons who draw near to stranded travelers and offer friendship, kindness and hospitality! They are a tonic to the spirit; they remind us of the many who wait for an opportunity to receive others and, without concern for personal gain, grant them reason to rejoice.
We look forward to meeting many such persons at the upcoming 20th BWA World Congress in Hawaii from July 28 to August 1.
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|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
The Baptist Union of Uganda (BUU), a fast growing national Baptist body, has approximately 50,000 members in 1,000 churches.
The BUU is heavily engaged in assisting many of the estimated 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and northeast areas of the country due to conflicts between government forces and the Lord's Resistance Army, a sectarian militant group based in the northern part of Uganda. The Baptist union, in cooperation with several partners, including Baptist World Aid, has offered assistance to IDPs in five districts - Pader, Kitgum, Gulu, Adjumani and Packwach. Assistance includes food and temporary shelter as well as books for schools and farm tools. Almost 1,400 families in the five districts have received aid.
In addition to IDPs, the BUU also offers assistance to Kenyan refugee settlements in Malaba and Busia District, providing food and temporary shelter to some 1,000 Kenyan refugees.
The Baptist body also invests significant sums in HIV/AIDS and other relief efforts; in the Functional Adult Literacy Program, and in women's and youth ministries.
As the BUU continues to grow through the planting of new churches, transportation into deeply rural areas poses a challenge. To help meet the need, the BUU distributed more than 50 bicycles to pastors and other church workers.
There is also an increased emphasis on pastoral and theological training to help meet the needs of congregations, with pastors and church leaders trained at the Uganda Baptist Seminary in Jinja, the Kampala Evangelical School of theology, the Western Uganda Baptist Theological College, and at Mt. Meru University.
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Hope Baptist Church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, runs an
extensive social ministry program to meet the needs of those who lack
opportunities due to high rates of illiteracy, malnutrition, violence,
unemployment, and poverty.
As a result, the congregation operates several ministries,
including income-generating projects to provide additional or alternative
incomes to families; Life with Hope, a project aimed at infants and young
children, providing nutritional and medical care; a Mother's Club, working with
approximately 40 mothers per semester, offering roundtable lectures and
discussions on teenage pregnancy, child care, women's health, domestic
violence, and other subjects, as well as workshops on cooking, baking, jewelry
making, etc; and an adult literacy program in partnership with two state
universities. There is also an
"infocenter" that offers courses in computer science and software applications
as well as a mobile library.
The Radical Teen group seeks to reach youth who are 12-17
years old in order "to develop in each a love to work for
the Kingdom of God, a love of neighbor and a love of self;" as well as
ministries aimed specially at young adults 18-35. Mission, education, and
sports programs are part of the church's life.
Hope Baptist Church has declared its intention
to "live and proclaim the redemption of God in Christ, by the power of the Holy
Spirit...raising consciousness, committing itself to a vision of society in which
solutions to misery-causing social problems are sought."
Ellen Teague, former BWA director of finance and Joanne Hendricks, past BWA accounts manager, both of whom retired in 2009, are working part time with the John Leland Center for Theological Studies.
The John Leland Center is temporarily sharing space at the BWA Center in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States, and both Teague and Hendricks are working one or two days per week with the theological school.
BWA staff members are enjoying this unexpected reunion. Back to top
To BWA General Secretary Neville Callam on being accorded the Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) degree from Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, in the United States.
Callam spoke during the university's Spring commencement on May 1.
Using the example of Ann and Adoniram Judson, 19th century American missionaries in whose honor the school is named, Callam challenged the graduating class to be courageous in developing and maintaining convictions grounded in truth, noting that this is a costly, but necessary virtue, especially in the current age.
|In Memoriam: Cecil Sherman|
|Cecil Sherman, first coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) in the United States, died on April 17 of a massive heart attack. He was 82 years old.|
Sherman, who pastored churches in the states of Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia, was elected the first coordinator of the CBF following the formation of that body in 1990, when a group of moderate churches and pastors withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention. The CBF was granted membership in the Baptist World Alliance in 2003.
A supporter of the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., Sherman integrated the membership of First Baptist Church, Asheville, North Carolina, in the 1970s, admitting African Americans into membership despite opposition from leaders and members of the congregation.
The prolific author earned degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. His last book, sent to the publishers one week before his death, will be published in June.
Memorial services were held at River Road Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, and First Baptist Church, Asheville, North Carolina, on April 20 and 23, respectively.
Predeceased by his wife Dorothy in 2008, Sherman is survived by daughter Eugenia.
Two generous bequests for world hunger from the Kent-Price and Kent Family Charitable Remainder Unitrusts.
Our sympathy is offered to the families of Jane T. Kent, who died in 2006, and Mary Pat Price, who died March 26, 2010.
: The list of donors may not reflect the total number of gifts received each month.Back to top
Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the months of March and April. |
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary - 3,000.00
Typhoon Recovery Program - 20,000.00
Women Empowerment Project - 18,600.00
Advertisement - 200.00
Earthquake Relief (HBAID) - 66,300.00
Roundtable meeting - 642.00
Earthquake relief - 25,000.00
Jann Murchie Tushino - 1,512.00
Micah Network - 1,000.00
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 May we will remember the following:
Sudan Interior Church
Baptist Union of Uganda
Baptist Convention of Tanzania
Baptist Convention of
African Baptist Assembly, Malawi, Inc.
Evangelical Baptist Church of Malawi
Baptist Convention of Zambia
Baptist Union of Zambia
Baptist Convention of Botswana
Baptist Convention of
Baptist Union of Zimbabwe
National Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe
United Baptist Church of Zimbabwe
Baptist World Alliance Living Water Conference, Maputo, Mozambique, May 20-23
Edinburgh 2010, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, June 3-6
Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer, June 13
European Baptist Federation Mission Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, June 16-19