Baptist World Alliance
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John Newton Prestridge, editor of The Baptist Argus, at Louisville, Kentucky, in his publication in 1904, called for a world gathering of Baptists. John Howard Shakespeare, editor of The Baptist Times and Freeman, London, endorsed the proposal. In October 1904, the Baptist Union of Great Britain passed a resolution to invite a Congress to meet with them in July 1905. At the Congress, a committee was formed, which proposed a Constitution for a World Alliance. A Constitution was adopted, containing the following preamble: "Whereas, in the providence of God, the time has come when it seems fitting more fully to manifest the essential oneness in the Lord Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour of the Churches of the Baptist order and faith throughout the world, and to promote the spirit of fellowship, service and co-operation among them, while recognizing the independence of each particular church and not assuming the functions of any existing organization, it is agreed to form a Baptist World Alliance, extending over every part of the world." Membership was opened to "Any general Union, Convention or Association of Baptist Churches", and it was decided that the Alliance would "meet in general assembly ordinarily once in five years, unless otherwise determined by the Executive Committee". Three leading personalities involved in the organisation included Prestridge, Shakespeare and Alexander Maclaren (who served as provisional President).
The meetings of the Alliance are called "Congresses." World conflicts made it impossible to hold to a strict five-year plan, but BWA has held 20 Congresses: London, 1905; Philadelphia, 1911; Stockholm, 1923; Toronto, 1928; Berlin, 1934; Atlanta, 1939; Copenhagen, 1947; Cleveland, 1950; London, 1955; Rio de Janeiro, 1960; Miami Beach, 1965; Tokyo, 1970; Stockholm, 1975; Toronto, 1980; Los Angeles, 1985; Seoul, 1990; Buenos Aires, 1995; Melbourne, 2000; Birmingham, England, 2005; and Honolulu, 2010.
Several conservative and separatist Baptist groups are not members of the Baptist World Alliance. On June 15, 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention voted to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance.
Currently, the Baptist World Alliance brings together 210 Baptist groups representing over 47 million baptized believers in more than 200 countries. The group's stated goals are to: "(1) To Unite Baptists Worldwide; (2) To Lead in World Evangelization; (3) To Respond to People in Need; and (4) To Defend Human Rights."
The Alliance is divided into six regional or geographical fellowships: North American Baptist Fellowship, Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (formerly Asian Baptist Federation), All-Africa Baptist Fellowship, Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, Union of Baptists in Latin America, and European Baptist Federation. Each regional fellowship is served by an Executive Secretary.
The Baptist World Alliance maintains ecumenical relations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. One series of International Conversations between the BWA and the Catholic Church took place from between 1984 and 1988 moderated by the Reverend Dr David T. Shannon, sometime President of Andover Newton Theological School, and the Most Reverend Bede Heather, Bishop of Parramatta. In 2000 and 2001 preliminary consultations for a second series of conversations were held, leading to formal meetings between 2006 and 2010. The current Co-Moderators are the Reverend Paul Fiddes, DD, Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxford and formerly Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford, and The Most Reverend Dr Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson.
About 42,645,873 Baptists are affiliated to BWA out of a total of about 110,000,000 Baptists in the World.
There are 36,100 Baptist Churches in Africa reporting 10,283,925 members. In some countries statistics date from 2011, but in others are as old as 2004. Countries with largest Baptist communities are
- Nigeria (10,261 churches and 3,526,184 members),
- Democratic Republic of Congo (3,799 churches and 1,951,618 members)
- Uganda (2,406 churches and 1,528,593 members),
- Kenya (3,500 churches with 800,000 members)
There are 31,306 BWA affiliated churches in Asia-Pacific reporting 5,356,124 members. Countries with largest Baptist communities are:
|Country||Nr of Baptist Churches||Members|
|Papua New Guinea||465||80000|
In this region, there are 2,036 Baptist Churches affiliated to BWA reporting 248,702 members. Largest communities are in:
- Bahamas with 272 churches reporting 75,083 members
- Cuba with 861 churches reporting 58,999 members
- Haiti with 466 churches reporting 67,440 members
- Jamaica with 322 churches reporting 40,000 members
In this region, there are 2,589 Baptist Churches affiliated to BWA reporting 156,700 members. Largest communities are in:
- Mexico with 1,800 churches and 70,000 members
- Guatemala with 311 churches and 44,059 members
- Nicaragua with 206 churches and 25,000 members
The year is the year of the statistic data regarding the number of Baptist Churches and members.
|Country||Year||Churches||Members||Total population||number of baptists
/ 100,000 citizens
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2011||5||200||3,839,737||5|
This region has 99 churches affiliated to BWA with 6,300 members.
- Canada has 1,384 churches with 196,588 members
- USA has 79,011 churches affiliated to BWA with 23,621,780 members. Southern Baptist Convention is not affiliated to BWA and has 16,000,000 members.
South America has 14,152 BWA affiliated churches with 2,042,949 members.
10,748 churches with 1,816,949 members are in Brazil.
- Lord, Townley F. (2007). Baptist World Fellowship: A Short History Of The Baptist World Alliance. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-548-44182-0.
- Wardin, Albert W. (ed.) (1995). Baptists Around the World: A Comprehensive Handbook. Broadman & Holman. ISBN 0-8054-1076-7.
- Leornard, Bill J. (1994). Dictionary of Baptists in America. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1447-7.
- Cooperman, Alan (16 June 2004). "Southern Baptists Vote To Leave World Alliance". Washington Post. p. A4. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- "Organizational Structure of the BWA". Baptist World Alliance. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
- "About BWA". Baptist World Alliance. Retrieved 2009-08-11.[dead link]
- "Baptist--Roman Catholic International Conversations". Centro Pro Unione. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Statistics provided by Baptist World Alliance