What is the European Baptist Federation?
God is calling us in four main areas, said General Secretary Tony Peck as he reflected on the EBF's identity when presenting his annual report in Tallinn
It is different to a Union, and certainly not a super-Union, he said. Its constitution from 1949 describes it as ‘a federation for co-operation.’
This means we don’t agree on everything; we don’t do everything together… but we come together on a shared Baptist identity.
God is calling us in four main areas, he continued.
Firstly, on a shared commitment to evangelism and church planting.
Secondly, EBF members are called to come together to defend religious freedom, which is ‘about more than writing letters to Governments’: in order to be effective, much specialist legal work is required.
Thirdly, there’s a shared commitment to theological education.
Finally, there’s call to help those in practical need.
Tony said what the EBF is came together during a recent visit to Turkey, where a small delegation witnessed the work of the small union there. Ten years ago there was one church; now there are seven, small fragile churches. The Turkish Baptist Alliance was formed in 2014 and is led by Ertan Cevik, ‘a courageous and inspirational leader’.
It has helped address some of the humanitarian needs of the growing numbers of Syrian refugees in the country, a ministry which has seen it actively partner state leaders, mayors and governors. As a result of the recent visit, an appeal has been made to EBF member unions for strategic assistance to Turkish Baptists to help them respond to the refugee crisis.
‘With no end to the Syrian crisis in sight and with most of the migration routes into Europe now blocked, the numbers of refugees are building up in Turkey and Greece.
‘The EBF leadership feel that it is critical that the global Baptist family support the Baptist churches in Turkey as they show the love and compassion of Christ as part of their witness to the Gospel.’
The EBF appealed to its member unions to establish a fund for one year of €100,000 to be used to assist refugees in the areas where the four churches are located.
It also issued a resolution about the refugee situation in Turkey.