Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

BWA Welcomes 13 New Member Partners

Ten African Partners Approved at Nigerian-hosted Annual Gathering
Baptist World Alliance Logo

(LAGOS, NIGERIA – July 9, 2024) Meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, on July 8, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Council unanimously approved 13 new members, bringing total membership of the BWA to 266 Baptist organizations across 134 countries and territories. Africa is well represented with 10 of the 13 new member partners being from Africa.

Baptist groups from the African nations of Cape Verde, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Republic of Congo are the first BWA Member Partners from their respective countries. The Evangelical Baptist Church Association of Cape Verde is an organization of 700 members in 6 churches; the Baptist Association of Mauritius represents 151 members in five churches; the Baptist Convention of São Tomé and Príncipe comprises 350 members in three churches; and the Federation of Baptist Churches in Congo has 1,250 members in 12 churches.

Two new members from the Democratic Republic of Congo increase the total number of BWA members in the country to 14. The Community of Independent Baptist Evangelical Churches is a group of 22,305 members in 145 churches, and the Convention of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Congo is a body of 3,062 members in 15 churches.

The BWA also approved three new members in the Central African Republic, bringing the nation’s total to eight. The Baptist Fellowship Church is an organization of 8,493 members in 60 churches; the Communion of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Central Africa has 12,700 members in 67 churches; and the National Association Baptist Churches represents 50,000 members in 228 churches.

In addition, the BWA accepted a fifth Member Partner in Rwanda, the Christian Unity Baptist Churches in Rwanda comprising 12,051 members in 29 churches.

“The Lord is always calling us to be together (Psalm 133:1). So we are glad as AABF to have 10 of our member bodies join the BWA and together join God at work to rescue the perishing, care for the dying, share the message of Peace, and seek a world filled with the love and peace of Christ (John 14:27),” said Elias Apetogbo, General Secretary of All Africa Baptist Fellowship and BWA Regional Secretary.

While membership in the BWA had traditionally been convention and union-style groups, the General Council voted in 2023 to extend membership eligibility to a broader scope of Baptist entities – including mission, education, and aid, relief, and development organizations.

During the Lagos meeting, the BWA General Council accepted three organizations into membership from these expanded categories.

Baylor University, founded in 1845 and located in Waco, Texas, is a Baptist institution of more than 20,000 students with a mission to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service. Baylor becomes the third BWA Member Partner focused on education. “Baylor is the largest Baptist university in the world, and we are thrilled to join the Baptist World Alliance as a Member Partner. We believe this relationship will help us continue to fulfill our mission to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone said. “We look forward to collaborating and having the ability with the Baptist World Alliance to impact the world for Christ in even more significant ways in the future.”

The BWA approved two Member Partners focused on aid, relief, and development. Buckner International, based in Texas, was founded in 1869 and serves vulnerable children, families, and seniors in the state and internationally. Albert Reyes, Buckner’s President and CEO, also serves currently as a BWA Vice President representing North America. Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), founded in 1996, provides aid, relief, humanitarian, and spiritual assistance for the needy and vulnerable around the world. HBAid President Béla Szilágyi expressed thanks to past BWA leadership for their support in the founding of the organization.

“It is always a joy to welcome new members into the BWA family,” said Julie Justus Williams, BWA Director of Global Partnerships and Unity. “I am grateful for the support of the regions and current member partners who faithfully walk through the application process with incoming members. Together we are a growing family impacting the world for Christ.”

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BWA New Ministry_BWA Annual Gathering 2024
BWA New Ministry Partners in Prayer_BWA Annual Gathering 2024

Pictured are representatives from the new Baptist World Alliance member partners holding a specially commissioned glass globe handcrafted by a BWA Baptist artist collective in Bulgaria.

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 266 conventions and unions in 134 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 178,000 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.

Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Email: [email protected]