January 5, 2018
Washington, DC (BWA) — Elijah Brown, the 9th general secretary in the 112-year history of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), assumed responsibility on January 1.
Brown, the fourth American to lead the global organization for Baptists, was elected during the BWA Annual Gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, last July.
He succeeds Neville Callam, a Jamaican, who retired after being BWA general secretary from 2007-2017.
Prior to coming to the BWA, Brown, 36, was a professor of Religion at East Texas Baptist University in the US and executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a religious freedom advocacy organization.
In his first week, the new BWA leader has emphasized BWA commitment to mission, evangelism and human rights, particularly religious freedom.
Brown has issued an invitation to prayer for Friday, January 5, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. “All are encouraged to pray on that day for the work of the Lord through the Baptist church around the world,” Brown declared.
“In light of pressing human rights challenges facing Baptists around the world and the ongoing need to continue to share the hope of the Gospel, Baptists are encouraged this Friday to pray for the work of the Lord through the Baptist church.”
To participate in the corporate prayer, persons may call +1-712-451-0685, using the access code 335454.
Persons may also call numbers of 61 countries listed on the attached or linked form, using the same access code. If your country is not listed you may use the number above.
Conversations focusing on innovations in evangelism were held with Kowloon International Baptist Church in Hong Kong, which has agreed to sponsor the BWA Evangelism Award, to be given out every five years.
The staff held a special meeting to review the situation in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. Christian villages in northern Nigeria and the nation’s Middle Belt have had repeated attacks, including from Boko Haram and Fulani militants. The country, which has one of the largest Baptist groups globally, faces a worsening famine crisis.
BWA staff will attend meetings with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in Washington, DC; and meet with Knox Thames, special adviser on Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia of the US Department of State.
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The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 238 conventions and unions in 124 countries and territories comprising 48 million members in 169,000 churches. Its priorities are nurturing the passion for mission and evangelism; promoting worship, fellowship and unity; responding to people in need; defending human rights and justice; and advancing relevant theological reflection.