Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

European Baptists convene in Slovakia

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The 2013 European Baptist Federation (EBF) Council convened in Bratislava, Slovakia, with a large turnout of leaders, pastors, teachers and other delegates to receive reports and recommendations and to reflect on issues affecting the family of Baptists in Europe. Meetings are being held from September 25-28.

Baptists from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria updated the council on the situation in the Middle East and the work and ministry of Baptists in meeting the challenges in the region. The EBF, which is one of six regional or geographical expressions of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), includes Baptist conventions and unions in the Middle East and North Africa.

Nabil Costa of Lebanon, a BWA vice president, said “we need to remain focused on our role as the church.” The church’s focus, he said, “needs to be values-driven, affirming and seizing the opportunity and possibility of increased freedom and human dignity, driven by a concern for the protection and preservation of human life.”

The Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, which Costa heads, is one of the BWA main partners in ministering to the needs of persons displaced by the civil war in Syria.

Syrian Baptist pastor Mazen H. shuttles between that country and Lebanon, bringing relief supplies to roughly 1,600 Syrian families displaced by the war. He told the council the ways in which God is making a difference in the lives of the people being helped through the ministry of the Christian church, including Baptists. He said that since the war began, “more people are going to church.”

A new slate of leaders was elected to serve the EBF. Otniel Bunaciu, president of the Baptist Union of Romania, was elected president. Asatur Nahatetyan of Armenia succeeds Bunaciu as vice president. Tony Peck of Britain, who serves as the BWA regional secretary for Europe, was reappointed EBF general secretary.

The process of relocating the International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS) from Prague, Czech Republic, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, continues. The seminary is to be transformed into an International Baptist Study and Research Center that will become an embedded institution within the Department of Theology of the VU University Amsterdam.

The new site is in a Baptist church building in Amsterdam that will also house the Baptist Seminary of the Netherlands, the offices of the Baptist Union of the Netherlands, and the offices of the EBF. The property in Prague is to be sold with the proceeds going toward meeting the financial needs of the relocated and reconfigured entity.

Council members also received reports from the EBF Mission and Evangelism, Theology and Education and External Relations divisions; the Resolutions Committee; the Youth and Children’s Committee; and the Indigenous Mission Partnership program.

Baptist World Alliance®
© September 27, 2013

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.