In the World

FOR THE BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE, A FIRST — AND A SECOND

By Robert Dilday

BWA president Paul Msiza
New BWA president Paul Msiza (center) examines documents with General Secretary Neville Callam and staff member Julie Justus, prior to a meeting of the General Council. (BNG photo)

As the Baptist World Alliance prepared July 22 to convene its first world congress in Africa, the global organization also transitioned to new leadership with a South African pastor taking the helm as president — only the second African to hold the top elected spot since the BWA’s founding in 1905.

Paul Msiza, pastor of Peniel-Salem Baptist Church in Pretoria, presided for the first time at the BWA’s General Council meeting just prior to the five-day Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa. The congress, held every five years in various cities around the world, is expected to draw about 2,500 participants from many of the BWA’s more than 200 member unions and conventions.

The 53-year-old Msiza was elected last summer at the General Council’s meeting in Izmir, Turkey. He succeeds John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, who was elected to the five-year term as president in 2010.

“I stand here today with all humility and being humbled before the Lord to serve,” Msiza told council members gathered in Durban’s International Conference Center. “God has put a special calling on us to serve our international fellowship. From a human viewpoint we have anxiety and questions, but if we rely on those there is nothing we can do. All we can do is trust in the presence of the Lord as we move forward, as we begin a new journey together.”

– See more at Baptist News Global.

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