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It is the biggest event on the BWA annual calendar.

by Eron Henry

This year’s Annual Gathering was in the historic and
scenic city of Prague in the Czech Republic, formerly one half
of Czechoslovakia, which broke apart in 1992 after the fall of
The usual meetings were held, including the Executive
Committee and especially the General Council (GC), the
highest decision making body within the BWA outside of the
World Congress, which is held every fi ve years.
There was much activity outside of the meetings of these
two bodies. The International Program Committee for the World
Congress, for instance, continued its preparations for that event,
set for Hawaii in the summer of 2010. The committee proposed
a budget of US$1.5 million which was approved by the GC.
Much excitement is being generated about the World Congress
that is expected to draw upwards of 15,000 participants from
around the world.
The commissions and workgroups of the BWA are the homes
for serious Baptist scholars, theologians, authors, professors
and teachers. A wide variety of subjects were addressed by the
six commissions and four workgroups. Of note was a forum
jointly held by the Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch
Cooperation and the Commission on Freedom and Justice (F&J)
to discuss a Baptist response to the letter sent by 138 Muslim
scholars, leaders and clerics to Christian leaders, including BWA
President David Coffey. The letter, which was sent in October
of last year, invites Christians to a dialogue with Muslims that
would, hopefully, lead to world peace. The insights from the
forums will inform the response being formulated by the BWA
to the Muslim letter.
The Commission on Freedom and Justice was particularly
concerned this year with refugees, immigrants, and displaced
persons. The plight of the Roma (Gypsy) people in Italy was
highlighted. Anna Maffei, president of the Baptist Evangelical
Christian Union of Italy, contended that a new government law
requiring the fi nger-printing of all Roma people, including very
young children, is discriminatory and unconstitutional
Every year during the month of July, hundreds of Baptist leaders and
theologians converge on a city for the Annual Gathering – a week
of worship, study and fellowship, as well as discussion and
decisions about matters of signifi cance to the Baptist family.

(Photos: Motunrayo Adegbilero, Nigeria; Philip Poole, USA)
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