The observance will be on February 7 and 8, 2015, depending on whether Baptists worship on Saturday or Sunday. Baptist churches are encouraged to include BWA Day in their annual calendar.
The celebration is aimed at affirming Baptist identity within the worldwide Christian family. Baptists are encouraged to pray for each other and to renew their commitment to cooperate with Baptists globally through the BWA.
BWA Day has been celebrated since 1927 when the BWA Executive Committee, meeting in London, asked President Edgar Mullins and General Secretary John Rushbrooke to prepare a “Special Statement” to express clearly the purpose of the BWA. The Statement emphasized that the BWA “seeks to express and promote unity and fellowship among the Baptists of the world.”
A decision was made to introduce the observance of Baptist World Alliance Day in an effort to promote unity and fellowship among Baptists.
Originally celebrated on the first Sunday of February each year, BWA Day was moved in 2006 to the first Sunday in May. Recognizing that some members of the BWA family worship on Saturday, the first Sunday of May and the Saturday immediately preceding it became the new dates for BWA Day in 2009.
“It appears that the change from February to May has not gained traction within the BWA family,” said BWA General Secretary Neville Callam. In Izmir, the General Council decided that, as of 2015, BWA Day will be observed on the second Sunday of February and the Saturday immediately preceding it.
Resources for the BWA observance will be available on the BWA website at www.bwanet.org.
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 231 conventions and unions in 121 countries and territories comprising 42 million members in 177,000 churches. Its priorities are nurturing the passion for mission and evangelism, promoting worship, fellowship and unity, responding to people in need, defending human rights and justice and advancing relevant theological reflection.
NOTE: It is good that the BWA recognizes that they have a member body that meets on the Sabbath (Saturday). This is most likely the work of Neville Callam (BWA General Secretary) and John Upton (BWA President).