The Baptist World Alliance has nominated a leader of the Baptist association in Virginia to be president of the 37 million-member organization, it announced Friday.
John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), was nominated by the chair of the BWA Officers Search Committee, Raul Scialabba of Argentina, to be the next BWA president. Scialabba made the recommendation on Friday during the BWA annual gathering which took place in Ede, Netherlands, on July 27- Aug. 1.
The General Council accepted the nomination, making Upton the BWA president-elect.
The decision to confirm Upton as the official BWA president will be made at the next Baptist World Congress, which is scheduled to take place in Hawaii next summer. If elected, Upton will head the global Baptist body for five years, succeeding David Coffey of Britain.
"The President needs to be someone...who will be able to represent the BWA before governmental authorities and world religious leaders with Christian demeanor and wisdom," Scialabba told members of the General Council.
He added, "The president needs to be a person of vision who captures a sense of a bigger tomorrow" and is "able to unite diverse peoples within and for the BWA.”
Upton has served on several governing bodies of the Baptist World Alliance, and he is currently chair of the Congress Program Committee. The Congress Program Committee is helping to plan the 20th Baptist World Congress.
The new BWA president-elect has also served on the Baptist World Aid Committee, the Commission on Christian Ethics, and the Executive Committee of the North American Baptist Fellowship.
From 1986 to 1991, Upton and his wife Deborah served as missionaries to Taiwan through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The General Council, in addition to nominating a president-elect, also selected 12 people to be vice presidents. The 12, including one first vice president, will also be voted on at next year’s Congress in Hawaii.