BWA Connect February 2017
From the General Secretarygensec

Loving the Stranger

Even a cursory examination of the Holy Bible will fill the mind of an enquirer with a panorama of virtues that can transform the landscape of human experience if they are practiced. One of these virtues is hospitality to strangers.

The "Old Testament" contains many stories that reveal both the wonder and the joy of welcoming strangers. Remember, for example, how at Mamre, Abraham and Sarah received three men whom they did not know and served them joyfully (Genesis 18:1-10).
Member Bodies in Action mbody


The Faith Evangelical Baptist Church of South Sudan (FEBAC) seeks "to become a community of believers who are passionately witnessing for Christ, and holistically transforming the world for God."
 
Working with a consultant firm, FEBAC has developed a Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, focusing on education, health/HIV/AIDS, capacity building and leadership, food security, water, peacebuilding and reconciliation, childcare and protection, humanitarian emergency response and economic empowerment.
 
"These are done as part of the social responsibility of FEBAC in addition to its biblical-mandate of fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord," the church body declares.
 
Founded in 2007 and one of the newest member organizations of the Baptist World Alliance, the backdrop to FEBAC's initiatives is the intense social and economic problems in South Sudan, the youngest and newest  nation in the world, gaining independence from Sudan  in July 2011 after decades of struggle.
 
Large numbers of South Sudanese were refugees who fled conflicts during the war for independence. The country has since been rocked by an ongoing civil war and internal civil strife since it gained self rule from Sudan.
 
As a rationale for its educational outreach, FEBAC cites problems facing the sector.  These include the consequences of conflicts and war, displacement, an inadequate number of trained teachers, a lack of infrastructure for learning and inadequate access to educational materials for both teachers and learners.  "The frequent displacement of communities due to conflict also affects education is on-going; ... communities flee to localities without schools at all," the church body noted.
 
Large gaps exist in the health sector, a chronic need in the face of high incidences of HIV and AIDS and vulnerability to infectious diseases such as malaria. "The number of trained health providers ... is dismally low. Moreover, basic supplies for health are an area greatly constrained by infrequency of supplies, limited range of supplies and high logistical costs for supplies."
 
Various personnel have been named to tackle these social problems. In addition to a director for evangelism, mission, Christian education and training, FEBAC has appointed personnel with special responsibilities for community development and social services, agriculture and health, as well as peacebuilding and reconciliation.
Church Spotlight church 


River Road Church, Baptist, in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States, "seeks to inspire and promote outward expressions of faith through service by the church, its organizations and individual members."
 
The congregation "develops and implements programs and projects of gifts, service and Christian outreach in cooperation with mission fellowships in the church, and in local, state, national and world affiliations, including community service organizations."
 
The mission-focused church undertakes a number of educational initiatives. The Preschool Development Center serves almost 200 families, providing programs for children ages 1 through 5. In 2004, it became the first school in Virginia to be accredited by the National Accreditation Commission. In 2008, it was awarded the National Child Care Center of the Year by the National Association of Child Care Professionals.
 
Through the Literacy Initiative, volunteers work with kindergarten students and first graders to bolster their literacy skills and foster a love of reading. Books and activity packets are provided. It teams up with other churches to tutor adults in English as a Second Language.
 
In its quest to combat hunger, River Road, a Baptist World Alliance Global Impact Church, engages in an annual CROP Walk to raise funds to address world hunger, coordinates the distribution of food and other forms of assistance through Stop Hunger Now, collects nonperishable food items year-round that are distributed to food pantries and provides home-delivered meals to seniors, the disabled and people who are in need.
 
In addition, River Road provides weekend volunteers for the Crossover West Health Center and, through Habitat for Humanity, joins 11 other churches in paying for and constructing homes in the Richmond area.
 
"We have an opportunity to be a model for our community and other churches of love and acceptance for all people," declares church pastor, Daniel Glaze. "If we are able to do this, we will hear Christ's call to be neighbors to one another."
Memoriam memoriam 

Warren Magnuson, a former general secretary of the Baptist General Conference (Converge Worldwide), in the United States, and a past vice president of the Baptist World Alliance, died on December 17, 2016. He was 95 years old.
 
Prior to becoming Baptist General Conference (BGC) general secretary, Magnuson served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Willmar, Minnesota, in the US, from 1950-1954 and then at Central Baptist Church in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. He was appointed BGC general secretary in 1969, a post he held for 18 years, until 1987. Before taking that role, Magnuson chaired both the BGC Foreign Mission Board and the Board of Trustees.
 
During his time as general secretary, BGC grew by 276 churches, 96 new missionaries were appointed and giving grew from US$2 million to more than US$4 million annually. The conference center relocated from Chicago to Evanston in the state of Illinois, in the US, and then to the present headquarters in Arlington Heights in the state. Both a health and accident insurance program and a retirement fund were established for pastors. The Baptist General Conference Mission Endowment Fund was vested.
 
While Magnuson was general secretary, Bethel College and Seminary were expanded, with Bethel College moving to new facilities in Arden Hills, Minnesota,  to join the seminary. An extension of Bethel Seminary was begun in San Diego, California, in the US, and the number of students served by Bethel doubled. As part of a church planting strategy, the Hispanic Bible School in Chicago was founded to prepare pastors to minister to the growing Spanish-speaking community.
 
Magnuson was the first BGC general secretary to be active at the BWA. He was BWA vice president from 1990-1995 and served on the General Council, the Executive Committee, the Personnel Committee, the Promotion and Development Committee and the Staff Evaluation and Search Committee.
 
He received degrees and diplomas from Bethel Junior College, the University of Minnesota and Bethel Seminary.
 
He was predeceased by wife, Margaret.
 
Memorial service was held at the Friendship Village Bloomington retirement community in Minnesota on December 21, with interment in the Hillside Cemetery.
Memoriam memoriam 

Jeremiah Pryce, founding pastor of Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church of Lyndhurst, near Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States, died on January 5, at age 68.
 
Pryce served various pastorates in the New Testament Church of God in his birthplace, Jamaica, and was an instructor in the denomination's Bethel Bible College in the town of Mandeville on the island.
 
In Jamaica, Pryce worked extensively in camping and youth ministries and was a director in the Youth for Christ movement.
 
Upon migrating to the US, Pryce became associate pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, from 1976-1978; and minister of Christian Education at Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1979-1984. He later became founding pastor of Grace Tabernacle.
 
He was chair of the Department of Ministry for the Cleveland Baptist Association (CBA) and a member of the CBA Board of Trustees.
 
At the time of his passing, he was a member of the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Evangelism and was a member of the BWA Commission on Ministry from 2010-2015.
 
Pryce was campus minister with the University Christian Movement at the Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio; president of the Community Re-Entry Program, an advocacy program for people formerly incarcerated; and a member of the Oversight Committee that promotes the Harvest for Hunger Campaign.
 
He earned degrees and diplomas from Bethel College in Jamaica and the Jamaica Theological Seminary; as well as from the Westminster Theological Seminary near Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, both in Pennsylvania in the US.
 
He is survived by wife, Juliet; son, Edmund; and daughter, Kerri-Simone.
 
Funeral service was held January 21 at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland in Ohio. 
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About the Baptist World Alliance
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 235 conventions and unions in 122 countries and territories comprising 40 million members in 177,000 churches. Its priorities are nurturing the passion for mission and evangelism; promoting worship, fellowship and unity; responding to people in need; defending human rights and justice; and advancing relevant theological reflection.
 
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