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WMU affirms ties with Baptist World Alliance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–The national Woman’s Missionary Union executive board affirmed WMU’s longstanding relationship with the women’s department auxiliary of the Baptist World Alliance Jan. 12 and issued a call to prayer for unity among the body of Christ.

The subject was raised during the WMU board meeting in light of a report by a BWA study committee of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee recommending that the SBC withdraw from the BWA effective Oct. 1.

Through laughter and tears, WMU board members shared testimonies of how God had blessed their lives through relationships with other women all over the world through the BWA.

“As members of the body of Christ,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director-treasurer of national WMU, “we need each other — to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to learn from one another — and to stand together in one accord as a strong and bold witness to a lost world.”

Woman’s Missionary Union has had a long history of fellowship with Baptists worldwide through the Baptist World Alliance dating back to 1911 when Edith Campbell Crane, WMU’s corresponding secretary from 1907-1911, helped organize the first women’s meeting.

For more than 90 years, WMU leaders have participated in the BWA by organizing and presiding over various women’s meetings, serving on countless committees and serving as officers of the BWA women’s department.

Today, WMU’s partnership with the BWA continues as Wanda Lee serves as a member of the BWA executive and the BWAid committees.

Noting that relationships are fundamental to WMU’s purpose as a missions organization, Lee said, “It is through fellowship with Christ and other Christians that we experience personal growth and develop a deeper understanding of the needs around the world.

“In the context of our missions task, it is through this fellowship that we become more effective as we grow in our passion and a sense of urgency to be light in a dark world.”

As an auxiliary, WMU also is affiliated with the North American Baptist Women’s Union (NABWU), one of the continental unions of the BWA women’s department. In addition to relationships through NABWU, WMU has identified more than 40 nations that have some form of WMU organizations that relate through their continental union to the BWA women’s department.

WMU leaders said the organization will continue to participate in and support the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer and offering each November. In addition to uniting women in worldwide prayer, the World Day of Prayer offering provides the sole source of income for the BWA women’s department.