June 23, 2009

400th Celebration to Focus on Worship

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance
June 23, 2009

Worship will be at the heart of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Annual Gathering to be held in Ede, Netherlands, from July 27 to August 1, as the BWA celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Baptist movement.

The first Baptist church was established in 1609 by English exiles in Amsterdam in the Netherlands .

Morning worship throughout the week will focus on the work of outstanding Baptists throughout the past 400 years, including Baptist pioneers Thomas Helwys and John Smyth; missionary leaders such as George Liele, William Carey, Ann Judson, Johannes Oncken, and Lottie Moon; outstanding preachers such as Charles Spurgeon, George Truett, Rubens Lopes, and William Tolbert; and Baptist prophets Martin Luther King, Jr., Samuel Sharpe, and William Knibb.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said that “the contribution of pioneers in the Baptist movement will be recognized, along with the outstanding work done by missioners, visionaries in the prophetic mold, preachers and teachers.”

A special quadricentennial service will be held on Thursday, July 30, at the United Mennonite Church in Amsterdam. The worship service will feature a Litany of Thanksgiving to be led by mostly young Baptist leaders. Denton Lotz, former general secretary of the BWA, will be the keynote speaker at this service.

Worship materials that will be used throughout the week are being translated into several languages in recognition of the number of nations that will be represented at the Gathering in Ede . Approximately 350 delegates and participants from 45 countries are registered to attend.

The order of service for the quadricentennial service will be posted on the BWA website (http://www.bwanet.org) on July 30 for Baptist churches to download and use in their own 400th anniversary celebrations. It will be available in at least seven languages, namely German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili and English.

Callam encourages “Baptists everywhere to hold similar services where they live, drawing upon the resources offered as they see fit.”


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