Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Callam re-elected to another five-year term

Baptist World Alliance Logo

Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam has been re-elected by the BWA General Council at its meeting in Izmir, Turkey, to another five years in office.

Callam, a Jamaican, became the first person who is neither North American nor European to lead the global Baptist organization when he was elected in 2007 at the BWA General Council meeting in Accra, Ghana. His new term runs from 2015-2020.

Callam came to the office of general secretary at a time of major constitutional and operational changes within the global organization for Baptists, many with potentially major implications on the future of the BWA.

Taking what he calls a “collaborative approach to leadership,” Callam worked closely with other BWA leaders including President John Upton; committees, including the Constitution and Bylaws Committee; and staff, to successfully implement many of the changes and negotiated those that needed review.

Much work was done to streamline the administration of the BWA office, giving clarity to the alignment of purpose, functions and operational modalities. Callam worked with staff to employ relevant technology to improve BWA functions while minimizing cost, and put in place a conference management system to secure greater economic sustainability.

Working closely with the Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by BWA Treasurer Carolyn Fossen, who was also re-elected to another five-year term, Callam successfully shepherded the BWA through the financial crisis and global economic recession that officially began in 2007, with minimal dislocations and impact on the operations of the BWA and its staff.

A Covenant on Intra-Baptist Relations was also adopted to provide a framework for BWA response to the diversity of language, culture, opinions and perspectives in meetings and in the various operations of the international body. The document takes into account the great diversity that exists among Baptists, particularly within the BWA. It assists member organizations to understand that all equally belong in, and are needed by, the BWA.

BWA membership has grown since Callam came into office, moving from 214 to 231 member organizations in 121 countries and territories.

The divisions of Evangelism and Education and Study and Research were merged into the newly formed Division of Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection (METR). The Division of Freedom and Justice (F&J) was established under Callam’s leadership.

Other senior staff members re-elected by the General Council, which convened during the Annual Gathering in Izmir from July 6-12, were Emmett Dunn, youth director and Rothangliani  Chhangte, director of Baptist World Aid.

METR director, Brazilian Fausto Vasconcelos, gave notice of his intention to retire in 2016 and was re-affirmed until that date.  Director of F&J Raimundo Barreto, also from Brazil, resigned effective early August this year to take up the position of assistant professor of World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States.

Baptist World Alliance®
© July 17, 2014

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.