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BWA summit adopts ‘covenant’ for array of steps against racism

ATLANTA (BP)–An “Atlanta Covenant” — urging Baptists around the world to devote the first 10 years of the new millennium to eradicating racism and ethnic conflict — was adopted by 200 delegates from 30 countries who participated in the Baptist World Alliance’s Baptists Against Racism Summit Jan. 8-11 in Atlanta.
A copy of the covenant’s exact wording was not available from the BWA Jan. 14. The BWA issued a news release, however, summarizing the covenant.
The BWA is a fellowship of 192 Baptist conventions and unions, including the Southern Baptist Convention, ministering in 200 countries.
According to the BWA news release, the covenant notes that while Baptists have “a rich heritage of commitment to international mission” and have made significant contributions in areas of health care, education and church planting, “racism has tainted these efforts.”
Urging Baptists to be “agents of reconciliation,” the news release reported, the covenant specifically calls Baptists:
— to examine ways in which their “evangelism, Christian education and economic structures perpetuate racism, and work aggressively for change.”
— to “a renewal of worship and cleansing from racial sin” in Baptist churches “and a commitment to wholistic and interracial mission and evangelism.”
— “to work for the elimination of unfair trade and [for] a just world economy, the protection of the rights of aboriginal and tribal peoples and to study the affirmation of the relationship between gospel and culture.”
— to repent “in churches, especially in North America and Europe, where worship is largely still segregated.”
— to commit to “racial justice as an integral part of proclaiming Good News; [to] promote economic development as a way forward to racial justice; use multi-racial images and idioms in worship; and develop church educational programs that promote a Christian lifestyle that demonstrates justice and racial harmony.”
— to move “towards a mission policy that empowers all Baptists to evangelize and disciple all people groups around the world.”