|From the General Secretary|
By Neville Callam
Why do thousands of children and young people attend Baptist Youth World Conferences? Since the first of these conferences, BWA records reveal that 57,000 persons have attended and, no doubt, many have been enriched by the multiple opportunities to listen to narratives of faith shared by Baptist youth from places they never knew existed. Many have had their faith in God strengthened and some have discovered their own spiritual vocation at these meetings.
In July 2013, when young people from around the world gather in Singapore for the 16th Baptist Youth World Conference, they will be continuing a tradition that reaches back more than 82 years. The formation of the World Baptist Young People's Union in Stockholm, Sweden, at the 3rd Baptist World Congress, and the naming of the BWA Young People's Committee during the 4th Congress in Toronto, Canada, in 1928, led to the First Baptist Youth World Conference (BYWC),
August 1- 4, 1931, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, (now the Czech Republic). Since that time, thousands of children and youth from the Baptist world family have met in Zurich, Switzerland, 1937; Stockholm, Sweden, 1949; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1953; and Toronto, Canada, 1958.
Beirut, Lebanon, was the conference venue in 1963; Berne, Switzerland, in 1968; and Portland, Oregon, USA, in 1974. These were followed by youth conferences in Manila, Philippines, 1978; Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1984; and Glasgow, Scotland, 1988.
In 1993, Africa hosted its first BYWC in Harare, Zimbabwe. After this, it was the turn of the USA when the 13th conference took place in Houston, Texas, 1998. Then, it was back to Asia for the 14th conference in Hong Kong, China.
After the most recent BYWC in Leipzig, Germany in 2008, Baptist youth meet again in Asia for the 16th conference in Singapore in July.
According to Tony Cupit, the 1993 BYWC in Harare, Zimbabwe, had a profound impact on Leena Levanya of Andhra Pradesh, India, who was to become, in Cupit's words, "a Baptist Mother Teresa from India." It was a workshop she attended, led by American Baptist leader Tony Compolo that made the greatest impact on Leena - then a young woman in her mid-20s. Compolo pointed out that, while young people sing, "All to Jesus I surrender," in reality they surrender very little." Leena determined that, from then on, she would serve Christ and his neediest children in India.
Cupit reports that a visitor to a location where Leena serves the poor said this: "Even if the Harare Youth Conference had only inspired this one ministry, it would have been worth it, for many lives have been touched with both the practical love and the powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ."
There are many reasons why our children and young people should be encouraged to experience a BYWC. Denton Lotz, BWA General Secretary Emeritus, was on target when he told the General Council meeting in Vancouver, Canada, in 1997:
Youth ministries in our conventions and unions cannot be treated as orphans. A high profile commitment to youth must be exhibited in the highest echelons of Baptist leadership." Lotz added a passionate invitation for support of the scholarship fund to enable young leaders from parts of the Majority World to attend the youth conference.
After they return home from the conference in Singapore, let us ask the young people to share with us their reflections on the experience. Of course, for this to be possible, we need to offer them the opportunity the upcoming youth conference presents! Help them go to Singapore, July 17-21, 2013, for a possible life-transforming encounter with Christ. Then, enlist them in the program to evangelize the world that so badly needs the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ.
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Baptist Union of Romania
Baptist work in Romania began when Karl Scharschmidt, who was baptized by Johann Gerhard Oncken in Hamburg in 1845, went to Romania from Hungary in 1856 and settled in Bucharest. By 1863,a church was formed and Oncken sent August Liebig to serve as pastor.
Russian Baptist immigrants, mostly from southern Ukraine, migrated to Dobrogea around 1862 and founded a church in Cataloi in 1869. Hungarian Baptists formed a church in Transylvania in 1875.
Baptist witness did not enter Old Romania until the 20th century when a church was organized in Jegalia in 1909. An ethnic Romanian church was formed in Bucharest in 1912 by Constantin Adorian, a Romanian who had joined the German Baptist church in Bucharest. The Baptist Union of Romania would be formed under his leadership, in 1919.
In 1942 and 1943 laws were passed dissolving all religious associations in Romania. As a consequence, Baptists could not meet, worship or evangelize. On August 31, 1944, these laws were abolished and Christian groups, including Baptists, could once again engage in religious activity legally. In 1948 Baptists were recognized as a legal religious body.
The Baptist Union of Romania, one of the largest in Europe, supports religious freedom, endeavors to find the most effective ways to deliver the message of the Bible and protects the autonomy of each Baptist church in the country.
Camp ministries offer important opportunities for Baptists in the Central European country, such as camps for fathers and their children, family camps, mountain adventure camps for teens and an international camp for Romanians who live in and outside the country. Most of these camps are held in July and August.
The union and individual Baptist congregations in the nation establish ministries to the Romani people, an ethnic group living mostly in Europe but also elsewhere, including Brazil and the United States. Romanis are traced to a group that migrated from the northwestern Indian subcontinent approximately 1,500 years ago. Romania has more than 600,000 Romanis, the fourth largest population of Romanis in the world and at 3.5 percent, the largest percentage of Romanis relative to the rest of the population.
Baptist pastors and ministers are normally trained at the Baptist Theological Institute in Bucharest and the Emanuel University in Oradea, Bihor, while some attend the Arad campus of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, which is based in Minneapolis in the United States.
(Baptist Union of Romania website and other sources)
|Whiteshell Baptist Church
Seven Sisters Falls, Manitoba, Canada
|Newly reconstructed church building after fire severely damaged the previous structure |
Whiteshell Baptist Church was established by a group of German Baptist families who emigrated from Russia to Manitoba in Canada. They first gathered in homes but as attendance grew, a place of worship was constructed in 1902 between Whitemouth and River Hills on land donated by a member of the congregation. Named the First German Baptist Church of Whitemouth, the congregation joined the North American Baptist Conference in 1906 with 57 charter members.
The need to replace the original church building led to the 1961 construction of a new building in the community of Seven Sisters Falls in the Whiteshell area. The church was renamed Whiteshell Baptist Church.
A fire broke out in the basement of the church building in July 2010 resulting in damage estimated at half a million dollars. During the reconstruction, the congregation met in the Seven Sisters Community Centre. The wider community rallied to the support of the church. People who usually did not attend worship services at the church building attended services held at the community center.
The inaugural worship service in the reconstructed building was held in March 2012.
Whiteshell Baptist Church is active within Seven Sisters Falls and the surrounding communities. Its ministries include AWANA, a ministry that helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth, and a Women's Community Bible Study.
"Our dreams are anchored in the trustworthiness of God and His Word," the church states. "Jesus continues to shape us to be more like Him. We are not perfect, but we are forgiven. It has always been our goal to be a caring fellowship just like a family."
In April 2006, 100 years after its official incorporation, the congregation was presented with the Manitoba Historical Society Centennial Organization Award.
(Manitoba Historical Society and other sources)
|In Memoriam: Duke McCall|
Back to top
Duke McCall, president of the Baptist World Alliance from 1980-1985, died on April 2. He was 98 years old.
McCall attended his first BWA event as a 16 year old in 1931, the Baptist Youth World Conference in Prague, Czechoslovakia (Now in the Czech Republic). After his election to the BWA Executive Committee in 1947, he held a number of other positions within the international body over the next several decades. He served as a member of the General Council, the Commission on Freedom, Justice and Peace and co-chaired the Commission on Baptist Doctrine. McCall participated in nomination committees and committees charged with reviewing the BWA constitution.
BWA President John Upton said "Dr. McCall was a big influence on my life as a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary while he was president. He was a true Baptist statesman, a world leader and a scholar. His influence will be long lasting. We are grateful for his leadership and friendship in the BWA.
"I was among those who elected Duke McCall as BWA president at the 15th Baptist World Congress in Toronto in 1980," said BWA General Secretary Neville Callam. "Soon after my election as BWA general secretary, I had the rich fortune of a memorable meeting with him during BWA celebrations in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 2007."
Callam stated that "as BWA general secretary, I have had good reason, again and again, to review McCall's addresses to the BWA Executive Committee and General Council. I have benefited from the expansiveness of his vision of the BWA mission, the depth of his appreciation for the extensiveness of BWA's potential reach, and the deep commitment that marked his engagement to help BWA secure the physical infrastructure to support its ongoing ministry."
Several significant developments occurred during McCall's BWA presidency. He supported the internationalization of the organization, which had started in earnest in the 1970s. He endorsed the formation and inclusion of regional bodies within the global organization, including the All Africa Baptist Fellowship and the Union of Baptists in Latin America, which gained formal recognition during McCall's tenure.
McCall strongly advocated that the BWA provide travel scholarships to facilitate the attendance and participation of Baptist leaders from around the world at its gatherings and meetings. The decision to create such a fund was formalized in 1985.
The first Baptist International Conference on Theological Education, which is normally held every five years, was convened in the state of North Carolina in the United States in 1982.
It was during McCall's presidency that a search began for more suitable offices for the BWA. A new headquarters building was purchased in McLean, Virginia, and dedicated in 1985, moving from its location in the heart of Washington, DC. The BWA moved to its present location in Falls Church, Virginia, in 2001.
McCall was a major figure of note among Baptists in the United States. He was president of the Baptist Bible Institute of New Orleans, now known as New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1943 and became executive secretary-treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1946.
He served as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the state of Kentucky from 1951 to 1982, during which time the student body grew from 800 to more than 2,000 students. Soon after becoming president, McCall integrated the seminary's classrooms in defiance of Kentucky's segregationist state law. At the height of the civil rights movement, McCall invited Martin Luther King Jr. to speak on campus.
He holds degrees from Furman University in South Carolina and Southern Seminary and is the recipient of several honorary doctoral degrees.
Callam said the BWA had plans to honor McCall. "What was intended as a surprise event is actually being planned for the upcoming BWA Annual Gathering in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in July. It is a Joint Session being organized by the BWA Commission on Theological Education and Leadership Formation and the Commission on Ministry, where we are planning to celebrate the outstanding contribution of Duke Kimbrough McCall."
Despite McCall's passing, the BWA leader indicated that "the Joint Session will still be held, but in circumstances not as auspicious as earlier anticipated. Baptists around the world have lost a wonderful brother, a valiant witness and a disciple of Christ who was faithful to the end."
McCall is survived by wife, Winona, and sons Duke Jr., Douglas, John, and Michael. He was predeceased by his first wife, Marguerite, in 1983.
Funeral services were held April 8 at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, where McCall previously served as pastor, followed by burial in the Cave Hill Cemetery.
|Youth Conference Highlight|
Performing arts will be one of the major highlights on the Youth Conference program. Musical ensembles, choirs, liturgical dancers and actors from across the world are just some of the usual fare.
Slots are still open. Performers and groups may apply to participate in the various events and sessions during the youth conference.
Registration and other information for the Baptist Youth World Conference can be done HERE.
|With Thanks |
To Rolling Green Village, Greenville, South Carolina, Andrew Hall, Paul Debasman and June Honeycutt for contributions in memory of Duke McCallTo Patsy Rowland, for a generous gift in memory of her sister, Bettye J. Ewen, from Ms. Ewen's estate.
|Movements and Changes|
Donna Potts, elected president of Churchnet (Baptist General Convention of Missouri), succeeding Doyle Sager. Forestal Lawton, director of the BWA Men's Department, was elected vice president.
|Baptist World Aid|
|BWAid grants for the month of April 2013
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
AfricaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
IDP Relief 29,210.00Green Environment Project 10,000.00
Orphan Education and Training 5,000.00
Hunger and Poverty Eradication Project $4,000.00
Central African Republic
Girls and Women Training Project 6,000.00
Income Generation Project 2,500.00
Poultry Project 9,000.00
Social Development Project 5,000
Agricultural Development Project 6,000
Rural Health Development Project 6,000
Mumbai Health Clinic 2,000
Papua New Guinea
Electricity for Theology College 33,000.00Back to top
Karenni Refugee Camp Fire Relief 20,000
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. Click here if you would like to be added to the Weekly Global Impact Prayer Email.
For the month of May we will remember the following:
April 28-May 4
Baptist Evangelical Association of Ethiopia
Ethiopia Addis Kidan Baptist Church
Baptists scattered throughout Eritrea
May 5-11Sudan Interior Church
Baptist Convention of South Sudan
Baptist Union of Uganda
Uganda Baptist Convention
Baptist Convention of Tanzania
Baptist Convention of Kenya
African Baptist Assembly, Malawi, Inc.
Baptist Convention of Malawi
Evangelical Baptist Church of Malawi
Baptist Convention of Zambia
Baptist Union of Zambia
Baptist Fellowship of Zambia
May 26-June 1
Baptist Convention of Botswana
Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe
Baptist Union of Zimbabwe
National Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe
United Baptist Church of Zimbabwe
European Baptist Women's Union Conference, May 30-June 2, Hanover, Germany
The BWA is accepting registration for the 8th Baptist International Conference on Theological Education in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from June 28-30. BICTE immediately precedes the Annual Gathering at the same venue from July 1-6.
BICTE registration may be done HERE.
|Baptist World Alliance Day, May 4/5Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer, June 98th Baptist International Conference on Theological Education, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, June 28-30Annual Gathering, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, July 1-616th Baptist Youth World Conference, Singapore, July 17-21