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Baptists gather for World Congress

Baptists from more than 80 countries will participate in the 21st Baptist World Congress in South Africa this week 

BWA congress300The event, which is taking place in Durban from July 22-26, runs every five years. It is the first Baptist congress in Africa, a region with the fastest numerical growth among Baptist Christians. 

'The rich culture and diversity of the global Baptist family will be on display as participants engage in worship, study, fellowship and the discussion of theological, ecclesial, missional and justice concerns that affect the lives of Baptist Christians,' said the Baptist World Alliance in a news release.

Highlights, the release added, include the installation of South African Paul Msiza as BWA president, the first African to hold the position since William Tolbert of Liberia, who was president from 1965-1970. Msiza is currently a vice president of the BWA, past president of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship and former general secretary of the Baptist Convention of South Africa.

The Congress Human Rights Award will be presented to Rwandan Corneille Gato Munyamasoko, general secretary of the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda, for his work in peace and reconciliation after the 1994 genocide in his country. Past human rights award winners include former President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

In addition there will be "a feast of rich music", including groups, musicians and singers from Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Europe.

The Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of our Baptist Union, will be among those present. Already, several hundred Baptist women are gathered in Johannesburg for the Baptist Women Leadership Conference which precedes the congress, running from July 18-21.

Congress participants and others from around the world can follow the latest events on the website of the Baptist World Alliance at www.bwanet.org.

Daily updates will include live video streaming of plenary sessions; constant flow of information through the BWA congress app; videos and photos on social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Elsewhere Ethics Daily is planning a comprehensive Congress coverage, through video news stories, Twitter, text news stories and photos through its Facebook and Pinterest accounts; and regular press releases.

The twitter hashtag is #BaptistCongress15

The congress was first hosted in London in 1905, and returned to the UK 100 years later when it was held in Birmingham in 2005.

Picture: The BWA Congress in Hawaii in 2010

Baptist Times, 20/07/2015
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