When the next SDB World Federation Sessions are held January 22-28, 2017, it will be the second time the Brazilian SDB Conference will serve as hosts. The first such opportunity was in February 2003. That was the first and only time in the then 30-plus year history of the organization, that the Sessions were held in a non-English speaking country. Brazil made history then, and continues to make history as it once again prepares to welcome delegates from the 18 member conferences of the World Federation, located in 19 countries, representing 6 continents of the world.
The Seventh Day Baptist Conference in Brazil has benefited significantly by taking that bold step to host the World Federation Sessions in 2003. This is the view of Brazil’s own Pastor Jonas Sommer, the current World Federation Vice-President for South America. Writing in the June 2013 issue of the Sabbath Recorder, Pastor Jonas expressed, “Today, the T.I.M.E. Program is a reality in Brazil, thanks to the:
- Sessions of the World Federation in 2003
- Visit of the Thorngates (2001, 2003, 2007)
- Visit of Rev. Rodney Henry (2007)
- Visit of Taylors (2009, 2011)
- Support of the Missionary Society
- Support of the Seventh Day Baptist Conference in the USA and Canada.
Pastor Jonas continues, “In 2003, the T.I.M.E. Program was just a dream. In 2009, it became a reality. In 2013 – as we celebrate 100 years of Seventh Day Baptist existence in Brazil – we achieved the mark of 100 students in the Program and secured a partnership with the University Center of Maringa. This makes it possible for T.I.M.E. students to have their certificate recognized not only by the denomination, but also by the Brazilian government.”
The World Federation Sessions is not just a meeting. It is not just an event. It is a significant component in the all-important process of uniting Seventh Day Baptists globally, and in partnering with each other to fulfill the Great Commission.
It is my hope therefore that all our member Conferences will plan to send at least one delegate to Brazil in 2017. Other Conferences that are not yet members of the World Federation are also strongly encouraged to be represented.
We just never know how far-reaching one step in the process could be. Take that step now!