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Baptist-Anglican conversations continue in 2000-05 time frame

WASHINGTON (BP)–Baptists and Anglicans continued their international conversations in Latin America and the Caribbean with two meetings in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 22-24, and Nassau, Bahamas, Jan. 26-28.

The Baptist World Alliance holds conversations with other Christian denominations as part of its goal to encourage better understanding among believers of different Christian faiths around the world and to strengthen the standing of Baptists, many times a minority group, in various countries.

The meetings with the Anglicans started in 2000 for a five-year period to conclude in 2005.

Previous conversations have taken place in Norwich, England, in 2000; Yangon, Myanmar, in 2001; and Nairobi, Kenya, in 2002.

The unique feature of these Baptist-Anglican gatherings is that they have brought together many more participants from all continents than is usual in inter-church conversations in which Baptists have participated. The conversations also have been contextualized to focus on the different continents and their particular reflections of the Christian faith.

The Baptist-Anglican conversations in particular are aimed at the two denominations to learn from each other and to deepen the understanding of the relationships between the two world communions in the light of their histories and how they each understand the Christian faith.

In Santiago, Chile, Baptists were hosted by Alfredo Monje of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Chile and the Anglican Bishop of Chile, Hector Zavala. Ken Manley, BWA vice president from Australia and former principal of the Whitley Baptist Theological College in Melbourne, chaired the meeting.

Papers were presented on topics including: “Evangelism, Proselytism and Mission in Latin America,” “Ministry of Pastoral Oversight,” “Baptist/Anglican Identity: Expressed through Worship, Teaching and Evangelism.”

BWA staff member Tony Cupit reported, “… there was a general agreement that those areas of faith and life that we share in common far outweigh the areas where there are differences between us.”

Key participants among the Baptists included Amparo de Medina of Columbia, a BWA vice president and professor of psychology at Javeriana University, and Alberto Prokopchuk of Argentina, BWA regional secretary for Latin America.

The Anglican team was led by a Canadian bishop, John Baycroft, from the Anglican Consultative Council in London.

Among the topics discussed in the Bahamas were “Anglican Identity and Baptist Identity,” “Life in the Caribbean” and “Liberation and the Mission of the Church in the Caribbean.”

The meetings were hosted by the Anglican Diocese of Bahamas and Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Nassau. Paul Fiddes of England, principal of Regents Park College Park in Oxford and chair of the Anglican-Baptist International Conversations, led the sessions.

Among the Baptists who participated were Neville Callam, BWA vice president from Jamaica and lecturer at the United Theological College of the West Indies; Cawley Bolt, theological professor from Jamaica; and William Thompson, president of the National Baptist Missionary and Education Convention.

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  • Wendy Ryan