Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Theology to hold center stage at Baptist Annual Gathering

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Theological issues will form an integral part of the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) Annual Gathering in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from July 1-6.

One forum will examine relationships within the Baptist family, drawing on a document prepared by the Special Commission on Intra-Baptist Relations. The document was unanimously endorsed by the BWA Executive Committee in March and is to be presented to the General Council for ratification at its meeting in Ocho Rios. It aims 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.

Another forum invites responses to the report coming out of the second round of the Baptist-Catholic dialogue that took place between the BWA and the Vatican from 2006-2010. The second round report will appear in the American Baptist Quarterly and will be available at the Gathering. The report of the first round of Baptist-Catholic dialogue from 1984-1988 may be downloaded and read on the BWA website.

A number of sessions will examine relationships between Baptists and Muslims, including a report on a December 2012 BWA human rights visit to Nigeria; a follow up discussion on the Common Word process, which stems from an October 2007 open letter from leaders of Islam to various Christian traditions, including the BWA, which called for peace between Muslims and Christians; and the general state of Christian-Muslim relationships globally.

The life, work and contribution of five outstanding Baptists will be honored through the presentation of papers, discussions, and theological discourses. George Liele, an African American who founded Baptist work in Jamaica in 1783, referred to by some as the first Baptist missionary. A roundtable will be held on the legacy of Sam Sharpe, a Jamaican Baptist deacon who led a slave revolt that is believed to have hastened the end of slavery in the English speaking Caribbean in the 1830s.

Papers will also be presented in honor of  J. Deotis Roberts, a seminary school professor and a pioneer of Black Theology and Duke McCall, seminary president and BWA president from 1980-1985. McCall died on April 2 of this year. An entire session will be devoted to Glen Stassen, who will receive the 2013 Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award for his longtime role as a theologian, ethicist, and peace activist.

Other issues to be explored at the Annual Gathering include evangelism, mission, human rights, gender-based violence and environmental justice. Participants and presenters include Timothy George and Karen Bullock of the US, Paul Fiddes and Nicholas Wood of the United Kingdom, Devon Dick and Elsa Leo-Rhynie of Jamaica, Supo Ayokunle and B. Uche Enyioha of Nigeria, Ross Clifford and Alan Marr of Australia, Gary Nelson and Sam Chaise of Canada, Joel Sierra of Mexico, Nabil Costa of Lebanon and many others.

Registration and further information on the BWA Annual Gathering is available at

Baptist World Alliance®
© May 29, 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.