Baptists to Hold 100-Year Celebration in England

The Baptist World Alliance will hold its 100-year-anniverary celebration in Birmingham, England late this month, despite heightened fears of terrorist attacks following Thursday’s London bombings.

“The BWA Congress in Birmingham, England will proceed!” leaders of the BWA wrote in a statement. “Indeed it is in God we trust not in any civil or secular power.”

The statement, signed by both the BWA President Billy Kim and General Secretary Denton Lotz, encouraged Baptists around the world to “continue to make plans to attend the Congress,” which is slated for July 27-31, 2005.

“For those who have not yet registered we encourage to plan to attend now!" they wrote. "Our security is in the God of peace, justice and love! Come celebrate with thousands worldwide in a great festival of faith, courage and love!"

They also said that by attending the congress, Baptists can show their solidarity with those who face religious persecution and the threat of terrorism.

“What better way to show our solidarity with the suffering of the world than to attend the BWA Congress,” the leaders wrote. “Baptist attendance at the BWA Congress will not only be a sign of solidarity with our British brothers and sisters but our presence will be a confirmation of our strong faith that Jesus Christ rules and our faith is in Him!”

David Coffey, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, host of the Centenary Baptist Congress, also signed the statement. Coffey is the BWA president-elect, and will be sworn-in for a five-year term at the end of the Congress.

The statement was released in the aftermath of terrorist bombings in England Thursday, which left more than 50 dead and hundreds injured.

Christian leaders around the world, including numerous Baptist leaders, offered their prayers for the victims’ families, and called for religious peace.

“This is a time when we are called to answer the evil of violence with an unswerving commitment to the ways that make for peace and justice,” Coffey said Thursday, according to BWA. “We join in Christian hope with all who seek the common good at this critical time.”