Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Baptists in Victoria Praised for Embracing Multiculturalism

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Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam has praised Baptists in the Australian state of Victoria for “the admirable effort they are making to respond creatively to the demands raised by the multi-cultural context in which they exercise ministry.”

Callam was sharing personal reflections after joining Baptists in Victoria, who marked the 150th anniversary of Baptist witness in the Australian state. The events, held in October, were planned by the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV), one of seven state unions that form the Baptist Union of Australia, a BWA member organization.

The BWA leader addressed a “Nourish Day” gathering of pastors and their spouses, an ordination service, the 150th celebration concert, as well as a special multicultural worship service. During his visit to Australia, the BWA leader also preached at New Hope Baptist Church and South Yarra Baptist Church, all in Melbourne, the state capital.

Callam was keynote speaker at the multicultural service where Baptists of Victoria celebrated the 60 ethnicities represented in its membership. He offered the gathering a reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan in which he urged followers of Christ to understand the need for good stewardship in the way they form and shape their identity as human beings in relation to the identity of others. “We are called,” he said, “to acknowledge the same dignity in others as we associate with ourselves and to engage in ministry accordingly.”

The multicultural service was “an act of thanksgiving to God and a spiritual reflection on the changing face of Victoria’s multi-ethnic culture.  It represented an acknowledgment by Baptists in Victoria of the need to respond positively to this multicultural change.” Callam said that the leadership of Baptists in Victoria is “encouraging Baptists to become intentionally multicultural.”

The BUV celebrations took place at the Syndal Baptist Church where, last August, the Australian federal race discrimination commissioner for Australia launched the country’s national anti-racism strategy.

Baptist World Alliance®
© October 31, 2012

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.