The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has signed two major contracts in preparation for the 21st Baptist World Congress in South Africa in 2015.
The Congress Committee, which met as part of the BWA Annual Gathering in Santiago, Chile, received reports that contracts have been signed with the International Convention Centre in Durban and a destination manager. Most of the meetings will be held at the convention center.
The destination manager will help to coordinate housing for the thousands of Baptists that are expected to attend the world congress, and will cover all liabilities related to housing, except for persons who choose “home stays” with fellow Baptists.
Home stays are being coordinated by the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), which assists the BWA in making local preparations.
The LAC comprises nominees from the four Baptist groups in South Africa that hold membership within the BWA: the Baptist Association of South Africa, the Baptist Convention of South Africa, the Baptist Mission of South Africa and the Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
Emmett Dunn, the BWA staff person who coordinates plans for major meetings, also touted the BWA’s new conference registration system.
The registration system allows persons to do online registration and is currently in use for other meetings, including the Annual Gathering in Chile and the Baptist Youth World Conference in Singapore in July next year.
The system will be the major means by which persons will register for the congress, which will be held July 22-26, 2015.
The Congress Committee will propose a theme to the BWA Executive Committee for its approval when it meets during the Annual Gathering, which is currently under way until July 7 in the Chilean capital.
The adoption of the theme will enable the BWA to choose congress topics, design a suitable congress logo and assign resource persons for the congress.
BWA President John Upton highlighted the importance of the Baptist World Congress in the life of Baptists around the world.
“If you want to create a mess, forget who you are,” Upton told members of the Congress Committee. “Many Baptists are forgetting who we are. The World Congress enables us to remember who we are and we hear it with this global voice. The BWA has done it beautifully for 105-plus years.”
A number of other events will be planned around the Baptist World Congress, including pre-congress events such as the International Women’s Conference, and post-congress activities such as mission trips in South Africa and other countries on the African continent.