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Georgia: BWA Leaders Requested Prayer

Baptist World Alliance (BWA) President David Coffey and General Secretary Neville
Callam appealed for prayer for those affected by the confl ict between Georgian and
Russian forces over the Georgian breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Estimates are that more than 158,000 persons were displaced as a result of the fi ghting.
“Already, the Baptist World Alliance has sought practical ways in which to give
expression to our love for the people affected by the war in the region,” said General
Secretary Callam. “Baptists across the world are praying for the resolution of the confl ict
over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”
Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, the president of the Evangelical Baptist Church
of Georgia, appealed for assistance to provide shelter, food, water, blankets, medicine,
and counseling for those affected by the fi ghting.
“We need to remember in our prayers Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili and other
pastoral leaders as they seek to minister in this dangerous and uncertain situation,” said
President Coffey.
Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the BWA, sent 40,000 euros,
including a 20,000 euro contribution from the German Baptist Union, to support the relief
efforts of Baptists in Georgia.
“We condemn this wanton taking of human life, and mourn the death and suffering of
all the peoples of this region,” said Baptist World Aid director, Paul Montacute. “Baptists
of the world pledge their support for all in need with their prayers, expressions of concern
and their giving.”
“I urge Baptists to pray for the peace and safety of Georgia and the surrounding
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” said Coffey. The confl ict “is a reminder that the
Caucasus is a complex and volatile region and we have many Baptists who will have been
caught up in the suddenness of this confl ict.”
Fighting in the region began on August 7 as Georgia launched an assault against
separatist forces in South Ossetia. Russia sent thousands of troops into South Ossetia and
launched attacks against Georgia, both in the province and at points throughout Georgia.
“I applaud the initiatives taken by the European Union and the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe in addressing the situation in which resort to force
has resulted in loss of life, destruction of property and disruption in people’s lives in the
Caucasus,” said General Secretary Callam.
“We also wish to assure Georgian Baptists of our commitment to urge respect for the
territorial integrity of their country,” Callam said. “We pray for the success of the initiative
of the United Nations to resolve the political confl ict between Russia and Georgia. We
also pray for the peaceful co-existence of all concerned.”

(Photo: Persons fl ee from Gori in Georgia; Photo courtesy of Reuters/Gleb Garanich, BWA LEADERS REQUESTED PRAYER

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