Baptists 175 years (12/12)

11/03/2010 19:46

175 years Baptist churches in Germany

2005-2010: The German Baptists as part of a global family

The Baptist churches in Germany understood from the outset as part of a movement across national borders, especially since there was already by JG Oncken a close connection to Baptists in England and America. Sun also played the Baptist World Alliance (Baptist World Alliance, BWA, founded in 1905) and the European Baptist Federation (EBF, founded in 1949) always. An important role for the Baptists in Germany

No wonder, then, that in 2005, many German traveled to neighboring Britain, where in Birmingham, the World Congress of the Baptist's 100th Birthday of BWA held. For the new term of office as Chairman of the Federal decided to intensify cooperation in BWA and EBF. Just as it is important for Baptists in Germany was to be understood as part of a larger family, and for the others, the partnership with Germany and the contributions of the German in theology, mission, diakonia, children's and youth work and responsibility for the world have always been of importance.

This was also noticeable in the partnerships with Eastern European countries. The BEFG consolidated its European assistance in close cooperation with the EBF. Community partnerships, including with the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, the Ukraine, but also in Austria, Hungary, Belgium and now increasingly also in Turkey and Israel, the lively contacts across Europe. The Committee on World Mission invested in partnership with South Africa and put together with the European Baptist Mission (EBM, MASA, India Help), the project "Borders" to, participate in the Partners in Africa and Latin America for some time in German communities as missionaries.

In the direction of the Alliance there was a change. Dr. Denton Lotz, general secretary of the BWA from 1988 to 2007, had his own contribution to an intense connection between the German federal government and the BWA. The American theologian of German origin who had studied in Hamburg was later worked out of Austria as a missionary in Eastern Europe and was also in close contact with many people later in BEFG. When he went in 2007 to retire, Dr. Neville Callam from Jamaica, was appointed as his successor. Thus, the internationalization of the Alliance began in leading positions continued in a good way.

The big event of 2008 was the 15th World Youth Conference in Leipzig. In the leadership of the community and youth work under the direction of Christopher House, the local committee provided a complete success, participating in the many youth groups, churches and individual volunteers from around the country were. Deeply impressed the international guests were not only the warm hospitality and superb organization. The analysis of the history, especially the history of National Socialism and the divided Germany led many to think about. Many meetings with foreign guests in communities before and after the Youth Conference brought a little of the atmosphere in far-flung areas of Germany. For the communities of BEFG play host to the World Youth Conference had identity forming character. "Together, we can!" This conviction brought young and old, large and small communities in cities and rural areas along the East and West. This was a deeply spiritual experience. The Baptists in BEFG as a minority church in Germany experienced first hand what it means to belong to the largest Protestant association in the world!

2009, it continued with the celebrations: 175 years earlier Johann Gerhard Oncken founded the first community in Hamburg. To the Federal Conference, which was held on this occasion in Hamburg, several international guests were invited. However, this should be no competition with the broader anniversary congress of the EBF "Amsterdam 400", which took place in July 2009 at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam. Delegates from 57 countries celebrated 400 years Baptist history on the European continent. Recent European conference of this kind, there had been 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

The 20th Congress of the Baptist World Alliance is imminent now. He is on 28 July to 1 August 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although unable to attend so many German as five years ago, so we hope for our communities but also of the Congress good impetus. The theme is: "Hear the Spirit" - Hear what the Spirit (the municipalities) says! (See also Revelation. 2.7).

Regina Claas, general secretary of the BEFG, Elstal