April 2015
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21st Baptist World Congress (#BaptistCongress15)
21st Baptist World Congress (#BaptistCongress15)

Movements and ChangesMovements

United States

Robert Cochrane, elected executive director, District of Columbia Baptist Convention, succeeding, Ricky Creech.

 

Let us know of changes in leadership in your convention or union at the levels of president and general secretary 

BWAIDBWAid  
The following are disbursements by Baptist World Aid during the month of March. Unless otherwise stated, amounts are in United States currency.

Africa 
Guinea
Ebola Relief
$6,565.00

Liberia
Ebola Relief
$7,035.00

Sierra Leone
Ebola Relief
&8,000.00

Middle East
Iraq
Iraqi Christian Relief
$10,000.00
   


 

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From the General Secretarygs

When Baptists Meet: A Feast of Diversity

By Neville Callam

Neville Callam

 

Some people say that part of the genius of being Baptist is the admissibility of a wide diversity of viewpoints contending with each other, sometimes within a single congregation. Sometimes, each purveyor of these divergent expressions insists that theirs is the truly responsible position. They posit interesting arguments to support their conclusion. In his recently published book, Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2014)Baptist scholar Curtis Freeman has provided a fresh and illuminating portrayal of one way of being Baptist.  

Member Bodies in Actionmba
2014 JBU General Assembly 

Baptist witness began in Jamaica in 1783, under George Liele and Moses Baker, former enslaved persons from the United States who had moved to the island.  

 

British Baptists strengthened the work beginning in 1814, with the arrival of John Rowe.

 

The Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) was formed in 1849.

 

Jamaica Baptists have contributed much to national life. British missionaries such as William Knibb, Thomas Burchell and James Philippo, were strong opponents of slavery. Knibb, in particular, traveled throughout England to drum up support against the slave system.

 

Beginning in December 1831, Sam Sharpe, a Baptist leader, led a slave strike which became violent after colonialists in Jamaica retaliated with force. An estimated 600 enslaved persons, including Sharpe, were executed. Almost 150 Baptist places of worship were destroyed by British colonizers. Unrest ended in May 1832.

 

George William Gordon and Paul Bogle led protests and demonstrations and tried to effect legislation to improve the living conditions of the majority of Jamaicans. The Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 led to the execution of Gordon and Bogle by the Jamaica colonial leaders.

 

Sharpe, Gordon and Bogle are among Jamaica's seven National Heroes, the country's highest honor.

 

After the end of slavery, British Baptist missionaries led initiatives to found new communities for the newly freed population. Dozens of these communities, called Free Villages, were established throughout the island and became the backbone of Jamaican rural life. Free Villages had a strong agricultural base and included a school and a Baptist church.

 

Beginning in the 1840s, Jamaica Baptists were among the pioneer missionaries in the Caribbean, such as Haiti, Cuba and Turks and Caicos; Central America, such as Costa Rica and Panama; and Africa, such as Cameroon, the Congo and Nigeria.

 

Mission support from the JBU continues in a number of countries and territories, especially in Haiti, Panama and Turks and Caicos.

 

The JBU has provided a series of scholarships to Baptists from South Africa, Haiti, Panama, Grenada and elsewhere for theological studies and ministerial training at the United Theological College of the West Indies, in which the JBU is a participating member and owner.

 

Baptists founded a number of high schools and dozens of elementary/primary schools, and participated in the founding of teacher training colleges.

 

In recent years, the JBU saw an increase in the number of affiliated churches, from 300 in 2000 to 336 in 2015, including three in Haiti, with a total of approximately 40,000 members.

Church Spotlight Church
 

First Baptist Church of Christ (FBCX) in Macon, Georgia, in the United States, was founded in 1826. It was Macon's first Baptist congregation.  

With a diverse and multi-generational congregation, it "has continually sought to embody the Gospel both in our area and around the world."

 

FBCX's commitment to mission runs deep. The church was instrumental in the formation of several local congregations, including Mabel White Memorial Baptist Church.

 

Pastors and lay leaders in FBCX were active in the founding of Mercer University and the moving of its campus to Macon in 1871. Mercer is now the second largest Baptist-affiliated university in the US, with an enrollment of more than 8,300 students.

 

In 1903, the congregation funded the construction of the Warren Memorial Hospital in Hwanghien, China, named for Ebenezer Warren, FBCX pastor from 1860-71 and 1879-91.

 

In more recent times, FBCX, a Baptist World Alliance Global Impact Church, has engaged in mission endeavors on its own and in collaboration with other organizations.

 

It partners with Agnes Barden Elementary School to provide food-insecure children access to healthy food options over weekends and holidays when school is not in session. Church volunteers work with students to help improve reading skills.

 

English as a Second Language (ESL) is offered to international residents in Macon, helping them learn English as well as orienting them to the Macon community. ESL is taught in partnership with Central Georgia Technical College.

 

FBCX supports Ricks' Institute students from Liberia, West Africa, who are at Mercer University through hospitality, scholarships, service and fellowship.

 

In partnership with Haiti Outreach Ministries, the church sends teams to Haiti to operate medical clinics and work on a school designed by one of its members.

 

FBCX distributes food to the underserved of Middle Georgia once a month; provides Macon's homeless population with critical services through Daybreak, a day/resource center; and, through Knit-Wits, knit items for the homebound and people going through medical treatment of various kinds.

 

An FBCX women's group, Circle of Hope (COH), helps women in need with issues of nutrition, job and computer skills and earning money. COH works to develop computer proficiency and operates the FBCX Christmas Store, where toys and gifts are sold at a discount rate to those in need.  

 

Global Women, an organization of women, meets quarterly with an emphasis on advocacy for women's issues and projects to help women locally and around the world.

 

Through direct service, work or in-kind gifts from members, FBCX has been a part of every Habitat house built by Macon Area Habitat for Humanity since its founding in the city.

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In MemoriamMemoriam
    

Isaac Zokoué, president of the Fraternal Union of Baptist Churches in Central African Republic (CAR), died on September 11, 2014. He was 70 years old. Zokoué had succeeded Paul Changé as the union president following Changé's death on August 13, 2006.

 

Zokoué was pastor of the Baptist Church of Kina, a neighborhood of Bangui, the capital of CAR.

 

He was co-founder of the Faculty of Evangelical Theology (FATEB) of Bangui, which opened in 1977, and was its president for 14 years, from 1986 to 2000. FATEB was an initiative of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, training and equipping pastors and leaders for churches and Christian institutions from 21 African countries. At the time of his passing, he was professor of systematic theology and coordinator of the doctoral program at FATEB.

 

Zokoué, who was originally from the Ivory Coast, was a former chair of the Alliance of Evangelical Churches in CAR. He was a member of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Early African Christianity, which aims to educate African leadership in African intellectual literary achievements, especially those from the Christian tradition of the first millennium.

 

He played a key role in peace negotiations and reconciliation initiatives in CAR, heading one of three national conferences in 1998 that helped to put an end to the 1996-7 national unrests. From 2001-2002, he facilitated talks between the CAR government and labor unions over salary arrears.

 

Zokoué received his doctorate in theology from the Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Strasbourg, in France. He wrote several works, including Jesus Christ the Savior: The Mystery of the Two Natures.

 

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