The Baptist World Alliance (BWA), a Christian worldwide communion of Baptist churches, is holding from 7-10 July 2021 its 22nd World Congress gathering thousands of Baptists from across the world, meeting virtually in an online meeting (due to the Covid–19 pandemic), for fellowship, celebration, reflection and planning for the next five years. The quinquennial global gatherings of the BWA have continued for more than a century starting with that held in Exeter in 1905. Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), sent a written greeting for the occasion. In his message, Cardinal Koch reflected, “The Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity have since our first conversations increasingly grown in appreciation for the rich culture and diversity found in each other’s theological traditions and global family, allowing for a mutual spiritual exchange of gifts. I pray that this dialogue of love, truth and life, may continue into the future”.
The PCPCU has engaged with the BWA in international ecumenical dialogue since 1984 and is currently involved in a third phase of international conversations scheduled through 2022.
The BWA counts 47,000,000 people in 2021 with 241 member bodies in 126 countries and territories. It is the largest organization of Baptist churches in the world. Its headquarters are in Falls Church, Washington metropolitan area, Virginia, United States, and it is led by General Secretary and CEO Elijah M. Brown and by President Tomás Mackey.
Photo: Meeting with Pope Francis during third phase of international ecumenical conversations between Baptist World Alliance and Catholic Church, 10-14 December 2018 in Rome © Servizio Fotografico | Vatican Media