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make the final decision on the report’s recommendations, agreed to reduce the size of
the Executive Committee to 25, from more than 60 persons; reduced the number of
vice presidents from more than 20 to eight; removed the vice presidents as members
of the Executive Committee, except for one among them who will be fi rst vice
president; and formed a Nominations Committee that will make nominations to most
voluntary positions within the BWA.
Both the Executive Committee and the GC affi rmed that the GC will remain the
highest decision making body within the BWA.
Neville Callam, who was elected General Secretary at the 2007 GC meeting in
Accra, Ghana, gave his fi rst report as the BWA’s top executive. The report highlighted
the work of the BWA throughout the year, including the BWA’s contribution to
20 seminaries and theological schools around the world to assist in theological
education and ministerial training; support given to Cambodia, Sudan and Uganda
for evangelism and discipleship; and relief given for various disasters, including the
cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China, both of which occurred in May
2008.
Callam paid tribute to Denton Lotz, his predecessor, for helping “the worldwide
Baptist movement to advance in its stewardship as an instrument serving God’s
mission to the world.”
One of the highlights of each GC meeting is the presentation of the human rights
award, named in honor of Lotz and his wife, Janice. This year’s recipient, Dennis
Dilip Datta of Bangladesh, was honored for his work in human rights and religious
freedom within his country.
For the second year running, the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) of young
Baptist leaders, mainly in their 20s and 30s, met during the Annual Gathering.
Members stated that “the ELN program has become very dear to our hearts and
has provided us a fi rst-hand understanding of the height and depth and width of our
Baptist expression of faith.” ELN members are drawn from all over the world, lay
and ordained, some who are signifi cant leaders within their own convention or union,
and others who are on the cusp of leadership.
One of the most moving moments during the week
of the Gathering was the memorial service. Persons who

(Photos: Jamaicans Cawley Bolt and Karl Johnson share a laugh with Chris
Ellis of Britain; Worship during the Annual Gathering; Dennis Dilip Datta of
Bangladesh, second left, receives the 2008 Denton and Janice Lotz Human
Rights Award. Sharing the moment are, from left, former BWA treasurer, John
Jones, Datta’s daughter, Ornita Datta Afzal, Emmanuel McCall, chair of the
Human Rights Award Committee, and BWA President David Coffey)
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