|From the General Secretary |
The joy of corporate worship
By Neville Callam
Long will I remember the week in 1997 that I spent in Faverges, a beautiful town in Haute-Savoie in the Rh˘ne-Alpes region in Southeastern France.
I was attending a conference on baptism where contemporary liturgical scholars were to reflect on what systematic theologians and biblical scholars from different Christian World Communions had written on the subject. These liturgical scholars focused on baptism as practiced by various church communions and how such practices may help in bringing about a convergence in our understanding of the meaning of baptism.
Among the liturgical scholars meeting in Faverges were Gordon Lathrop from the United States, Janet Scott from New Zealand, Jaci Maraschin from Brazil, Merja Merras from Finland and Paul Sheppy. It was Paul - a Baptist scholar from the United Kingdom - who first introduced me to the website associated with the South Yarra Community Baptist Church in Melbourne, Australia.
I anticipated worshipping with the South Yarra Church when I made my first visit to Melbourne, where I was attending the 18th Baptist World Congress in 2000. I abandoned the plan after my trek to a number of libraries in Melbourne searching for the celebrated book, Diakonia: Reinterpreting the Ancient Sources, written by respected Australian biblical scholar John Collins, ended in failure. I thought I might simply concentrate on enjoying the hectic congress program. Would another South Yarra opportunity present itself in the near future?
Over a number of years, I visited the website - www.laughingbird.net - and was introduced to Nathan Nettleton. As a busy pastor who was committed to attempting to carefully craft materials for weekly worship where I served, I found Nathan's website particularly helpful. This was the case especially on major occasions in the church's life - seasons like Advent, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost - when, year after year, one needed help in crafting creative liturgies that would stimulate the imaginative powers of worshippers. On the printed Order of Service was the oft-recorded notation, "Source: Nathan Nettleton (Australia)" and I kept hoping for an opportunity to visit and worship with the Christians at South Yarra.
On the morning of Sunday, October 14, while on a visit with Baptists of Victoria who were celebrating the 150th anniversary of Baptist work in their state, I preached twice at the NewHope Baptist Church which is served by an outstanding preacher, Alan Demond, one of the featured speakers at the 20th Baptist World Congress in Hawaii in 2010. The approach to worship at NewHope is decidedly contemporary and the church enjoys the services of a gifted team of worship leaders and musicians.
Worshippers at NewHope should expect to share in warm fellowship in a church that has a rich array of ministry opportunities for growth in Christ, fellowship with fellow worshippers, and service to the community. NewHope models an admissible multiculturalism with its membership drawn from 56 countries all worshipping together as a family without segregation into ethnically defined congregations. My experience of worship at NewHope was rich and meaningful.
In the afternoon of October 14, it was time for me to worship with the South Yarra Church - at their invitation! And what a memorable experience it was for me to share firsthand in the rich liturgical life of the church. I was struck by the creative and very meaningful worship space and was inspired by the intelligent use of religious art. Corporate worship featured a high degree of enthusiastic participation by members of the congregation - young and old. It included ample readings from the Bible, songs from around the world, with some created by the pastor of the church and set to music by Australian composers. I delivered the sermon based on the readings appointed for the day and found the time in corporate worship at South Yarra thoroughly nourishing.
One potentially beneficial feature of Baptist worship is the variety of styles of worship and of music that one may encounter. When these styles reflect careful worship planning and are mediated by thoughtful and suitably gifted and trained worship leaders, they are a wonderful source of the admissible diversity that can enrich people who gather for worship.
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Cameroon Baptist Convention
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC), comprising more than 800 churches and approximately 100,000 members, was formed in 1954 after more than a century of Baptist witness in the West African country. The first Baptist missionaries arrived from Jamaica in 1841.
In addition to evangelism, social services such as health and education form the core of the mission outreach of the CBC. The CBC describes itself as "a living fellowship of churches growing in grace, strengthening one another in faith, and working together in obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through worship, preaching, teaching, healing, and social ministries."
The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) operates five hospitals, including two of more than 250 beds each, 24 integrated health centers, and 50 primary health centers. CBCHB also has a pharmaceutical production and distribution department as well as a private training school for health personnel that trains clinical personnel for CBCHB.
Other programs of CBCHB are an AIDS care and prevention program, services for people with disabilities, a women's health program, the Center for Clinical Pastoral Education and Social Services, and the Community Counseling Clinic. The health agency operates in six of Cameroon's 10 regions.
Between 2000 and 2011, CBCHB, working with other partners, tested 618,397 women for HIV. More than 46,000 HIV-positive women were identified and more than 40,000 (80 percent) received antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child. More than 21,000 HIV-exposed infants received antiretroviral drugs to help prevent infection.
CBC also has an Education Board through which it runs 11 nursery schools, 103 primary schools, seven high schools and one teacher training college. There are more than 1,000 employees and about 32,800 students in its educational system.
It believes in "training young Cameroonians as agents of social, cultural, moral and economic development of Cameroon." It "seeks to provide sound quality Christian education to all who need it as an expression of love and concern and as a means of witnessing in order that they might be brought to God through Jesus Christ."
The Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary, with more than 300 enrolled students, provides theological education and ministerial training for pastors and other church leaders.
|Longbay Baptist Church
Auckland, New Zealand
Longbay Baptist Church in Auckland, New Zealand, was formed in 1965. It has adopted the motto to "Love one-another, live the gospel, and transform the community" with the aim of communicating Christ's love and making disciples.
Longbay has sought to be active in the community and has done so through the running of a kindergarten school, the Bays Housing Community Trust, a food bank, a prison's ministry, counseling services, and a Christian Prayer Center.
A diverse congregation, Longbay's members include New Zealanders as well as immigrants from Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa. It has three weekly worship services, traditional, contemporary, and a third that is youth-focused.
"I believe churches should be places where disciples are formed," says James McBurney, pastor. "We need to ensure we continue to grow as disciples of Jesus. It is something which will not end."
|In Memoriam: Branko Lovrec|
Branko Lovrec, a vice president of the Baptist World Alliance« (BWA) from 2005 to 2010, died on September 28, in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. He was 79 years old.
Lovrec served the BWA in a number of other capacities, including as a member of the General Council, the Executive Committee, the Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation, and the Human Rights Award Committee.
Lovrec had deep Baptist roots. His grandfather, Vinko Vacek, was a founder of organized Baptist work in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians during the first half of the 20th century. He was editor of the official Baptist periodical beginning in the 1960s in Croatia, and was elected the first president of the Baptist Union of Croatia in 1991, serving until 2003, following Croatia's independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said that Lovrec had "made his mark on the international stage" and that his "contribution to Croatian Christianity was immense." While mourning the passing of the Croatian Baptist leader, Callam told Baptists in the Central European country that the BWA was "encouraged by the level of faithfulness and commitment to the cause of Christ that was so evident throughout his life."
Lovrec entered full time ministry in 1967 after having being trained and working in the field of medicine. He was especially noted as a translator for visiting preachers to Croatia, including Billy Graham, and of the New Testament and other Christian literature.
He founded the publishing organization, Duhovna Stvarnost which, among other volumes, published The Handbook of the Bible and The Encyclopedia of the Bible in the Croatian language. In 1982 Duhovna Stvarnost published Knjiga o Kristu, the first Protestant New Testament translation in Croatian to gain acceptance among the wider public. During the last years of his life he worked on the translation and production of Our Daily Bread, booklets with daily devotionals.
He served as president of the Protestant Evangelical Council and its antecedent, the Association of Evangelical Ministers. He cofounded the Croatian Bible Society and was elected its president in 1995. Lovrec was also cofounder and long time president of the Executive Committee of the Society for Religious Freedom, and was a member of several other organizations.
In 1999 the Croatian government awarded Lovrec with the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the face of Katarina Zrinski for his contributions to health, social welfare and the promotion of moral values.
He is survived by wife, Mirjana, sons Matija and Andrija, and daughter, Iva.
Funeral services were held in Zagreb on October 3. A memorial service was held on October 9 at the Zagreb Baptist Church where he served as deacon and elder.
|To DurosinJesu Ayanrinola, BWA regional secretary for Africa and general secretary of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship; who lost his brother
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Archie and Helen Goldie, for gift in honor of their 60th wedding anniversaryBack to top
|Movements and changes|
Gregory Moss, elected president of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, succeeding Robert Murray
Reuben Ihlenfeldt, elected president of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, succeeding Edson Magoloi
Ncham Godwill elected general secretary of the Cameroon Baptist Convention, succeeding Donald Ndichafah
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|Baptist World Aid|
|BWAid grants for the month of October 2012
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Rural Health Development Project 5,000.00
IDP Relief 15,000.00
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
IDP Relief 10,000.00
HIV/Aids Project 5,000.00
Caribbean Baptist Fellowship
Hurricane Relief 10,000.00
Hurricane Relief 5,000.00
Hurricane Relief 5,000.00
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 November we will remember the following:
Baptists scattered throughout Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe
Cameroon Baptist Convention
Native Baptist Church of the Cameroon
Union of Baptist Churches in Cameroon
Central African Republic
Association of Baptist Churches of Central African Republic
Baptist Churches Union
Fraternal Union of Baptist Churches
Free Evangelical Baptist Church of the Central African Republic
Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Burkina Faso
Baptists scattered throughout Chad
, Mali, Mauritania and Niger November 25-December 1
Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention
Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone
Caribbean Baptist Women's Union Committee, November 26-30