Baptists from across the world are preparing to attend the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Annual Gathering in Santiago, Chile, from July 2-7.
The gathering includes times for worship, fellowship, theological reflection and decision making.
The two governing bodies, the General Council and the Executive Committee, will receive reports and consider recommendations and resolutions on membership within the organization, program activities, and preparations for the Baptist Youth World Conference to be held in Singapore in July 2013 and the Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in 2015.
There will be two forums. The first will be on technology and ministry; it will explore the role of technology in worship, fellowship and social ministry, such as the use and role of the Internet, mobile technologies and social media.
A second forum will focus on response to disasters and will draw on the experience of Chileans in the aftermath of the deadly 8.8 earthquake and tsunami that affected the South American country on Feb. 27, 2010.
The Denominational Leaders Network will convene along with other affinity groups.
Affinity groups are a gathering of persons sharing similar vocations or engaging in similar ministry endeavors. These include Baptists in higher education, pastors and mission leaders.
Persons from the BWA’s six regions – Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America – will also come together for fellowship, sharing and planning.
Theological papers and discourses will form the bulk of the activities of the commissions of the BWA. Topics to be discussed include The History of Baptists in Chile, Evangelical Hymnody in Latin America, and Mapping a 21st-Century Global Baptist Identity.
There will also be a discussion titled “Issues in Theological Education Around the World” and consideration of “The Nature and Mission of the Church,” a document produced by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.
BWA General Secretary Neville Callam has praised Chilean Baptist leaders for “the cooperation they have given in the preparations for the Gathering.”
Callam anticipated that “it will be a memorable encounter of world Baptists with Latin American Baptist spirituality.”
More than 260 Baptist leaders and delegates from some 40 countries have registered for the Annual Gathering, which includes times of worship and fellowship with Baptists in Chile.