BWA Resumes 400th Anniversary Celebration at Annual Meeting

Approximately 400 Baptist leaders from more than 50 countries are convening in Ede, Netherlands, this week for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Annual Gathering.

After celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Baptist movement's founding in Amsterdam, where many believe it began, the BWA leaders will continue to recall and reflect on major moments in Baptist history while engaging this week in worship, forums, study groups, and workshops.

The July 27-Aug. 1gathering is also expected to produce the Baptist body's president-elect, who will be chosen this week before being presented to the General Council by the BWA Officers Search Committee.

As a fellowship of 214 Baptist conventions and unions comprising a membership of more than 37 million baptized believers, the BWA is the largest Baptist body in the world.

The BWA's current president, David Coffey of Britain, is expected to conclude his five-year term next year after the organization formally elects its next president during the 20th Baptist World Congress, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 to Honolulu, Hawaii, July 28-Aug. 1, 2010.

On Monday, the Congress Program Committee received reports and continued making preparations for next year's gathering, touted as the "largest international gathering of Baptists."