BWA annual gathering in Vancouver
The Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering brings together an international group of Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives for worship, fellowship, study, theological reflection and decision meetings. This year it's taking place in Vancouver, Canada, 4-9 July
British Baptists attending the gathering include General Secretary Lynn Green, Justice Enabler Wale Hudson Roberts, Paul Fiddes and Nick Wood of Regent's Park College, and Regional Ministers Nigel Coles and Grenville Overton.
This is the first Annual Gathering since the Baptist World Congress in Durban
, South Africa, in July 2015 and the first to be presided over by Paul Msiza
, who was elected BWA president at the congress.
Highlights will include the reception of new member organisations into the BWA from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and a special welcome event planned by Canadian Baptists.
A communications seminar, which is open to all participating at the gathering, will explore "the use photography and videography to break down barriers and bring persons together."
Commissions will delve into core theological matters related to Christian worship, mission, evangelism, spiritual enrichment and other ecclesial topics. Global issues related to various justice concerns such as peacemaking, migrants and poverty, among others, will be examined.
Networking and fellowship opportunities will be available as participants gather in regional meetings with fellow Baptists from Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America; as well as when women, men and youth meet together.
Various personnel, such as General Secretary Neville Callam, Treasurer Carolyn Fossen and BWA staff; and entities such as standing and advisory committees, will present reports.
The two governing bodies of the BWA, the Executive Committee and the General Council, will convene during the Annual Gathering.
Ahead of the meeting (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam encouraged Christians to specially remember Christians who work and live in vulnerable circumstances.
The global Baptist leader, who was preaching during the worship service at First Baptist Church, Vancouver, on 3 July, made the case for Christian hospitality when he said, "We should treat our fellow Christians who are hungry or thirsty as we would treat Jesus."
There are Christians, he said, who are engaged in the enterprise of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ who need the prayer and support of their fellow believers. The response to their needs should be the same as Christians would respond to the needs of the incarnated Jesus.
"We should treat Christ's messengers who are poorly clothed as we would treat Jesus," Callam emphasised. "We should treat those fellow Christians who are ill -- perhaps undergoing some physical condition occasioned by the mission they are on -- as we would treat Jesus."
Callam told the congregation that "Christians should be ready at all times to receive their fellow Christians who are messengers of the Gospel – that is, people who preach or teach the Gospel, people who bear witness to Christ -– as we would receive Jesus himself."
The congregation offered prayer that, through unity and love, Baptists may become "light to those who live in spiritual darkness" and that they "break down the barriers that divide."
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