An IMPORTANT UPDATE from ReV. Elijah Brown

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These are challenging times for many within our global Baptist family. The immediate impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, and the long-term effects will be far-reaching. With that in mind, we have been in prayerful deliberations regarding the 22nd Baptist World Congress scheduled for this July, all with the understanding that there are significant implications for many.

In these difficult days, standing in solidarity with those in need will require sacrifices and necessitate difficult decisions. To that end, we have reached a collaborative decision to postpone the 22nd Baptist World Congress until July 7-10, 2021, at RioCentro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was a difficult but not unprecedented decision as Congresses were postponed during the Great Depression, cancelled during World War II, and delayed as recently as 2003 when the SARS outbreak impacted plans for the Baptist Youth World Conference.

This decision is the result of considerable research and global collaboration. The BWA team has diligently pursued a comprehensive assessment of how to best move forward. Information was rapidly evolving over this time period, which we sought to review and relay as soon as possible to our constituency of prayerful global leaders. After a collective review that included our BWA team, BWA executive officers, Congress committee leaders, the General Secretary for Baptists in Latin America, and all three Baptist conventions in Brazil, the decision to postpone was unanimous.

As we reflect on all that is happening in our world, please know how grateful we are for you and your willingness to stand together with your global Baptist family. We hope you will mark your calendars and make plans to join us in July 2021. If you have not yet registered, registration remains open for the 22nd Baptist World Congress. This will be a sacred journey of moving beyond a time of separation to a family gathered from around the world for the mission of God.

We understand that you may have additional questions that are not addressed in this email, so we have created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document that is linked below and is also available on our updated Congress website:

In closing, I believe this is an important opportunity for Baptists around the world to pray and serve together. When we chose the theme of "Together" five years ago, we could never have known how important the concept would be. Now more than ever, it is imperative for us to stand together as both people of hope and champions of compassion.

As part of that imperative, the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD) is working diligently to coordinate a collaborative response to COVID-19. This network of more than 25 global agencies was created for such a time as this, so watch for more details about how you can join the worldwide response effort. We will also be hosting a global prayer call on Monday, March 30, at 9:15 am EDT. I hope you will make plans to join us. Click here to find out more.

May we continue to place our trust in God who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Standing Together,

Rev. Elijah M. Brown, PhD
General Secretary & CEO

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