The Baptist World Alliance has announced its 2022 annual gathering will be convened both online and in-person after two years of virtual-only meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And BWA isn’t alone. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Alliance of Baptists are among those who said they also plan to hold hybrid annual gatherings this year. The Southern Baptist Convention, which met in-person last year but not in 2020, plans a large in-person meeting that also will be livestreamed.
BWA’s hybrid approach provides opportunities for deep, in-person fellowship while enabling greater numbers to attend online, BWA Director of Global Events and Fellowship, Carolina Mangieri, said in the announcement.
“We look forward to meeting in person once again after multiple years of virtual meetings, but we are also working to provide virtual components for those that will not be able to join us in person,” she said of the July 10-15 event that will be based at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.
“We look forward to meeting in person once again after multiple years of virtual meetings, but we are also working to provide virtual components for those that will not be able to join us in person.”
Earlier this month, CBF announced its 2022 General Assembly will be held in June online and in Dallas. Registration opens Feb. 1.
“You’re invited to join your CBF family at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for a week of learning, worship, inspiration and fellowship. Don’t worry, though, if you’re not able to make it to Dallas. We’re planning a virtual assembly experience to complement the in-person assembly experience,” the invitation said.
The Alliance of Baptists said its Annual Gathering will be held April 22-24 online and at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Keynote speakers for the event are Rita Nakashima Brock, a Disciples of Christ minister and director of the Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America and former director of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University; and Eboni Marshall Turman, assistant professor of Theology and African American Religion at Yale Divinity School, a Baptist minister and author of Toward a Womanist Ethic of Incarnation: Black Bodies, the Black Church, and the Council of Chalcedon.
BWA, CBF and the Alliance will allow both online and in-person participants to join in the life and mission of their fellowships through the gatherings. The SBC — by far the largest of denominational meetings — livestreams only the main plenary sessions, and voting “messengers” must be present in-person.
For groups like the BWA, however, the hybrid approach strengthens its efforts to span the globe especially in troubled times.
“After gathering virtually for the last two years, this annual gathering will be a historic moment centered on celebrating the work of the Lord through the BWA family in the midst of an ongoing worldwide pandemic, cultivating a deeper community of shared relationships, and calling all of us to pursue with renewed intentionality racial and ethnic justice,” said BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown.
The BWA meeting will offer plenaries on racial justice, Bible studies, regional ministry reports and small-group sessions.
The American Baptist Home Mission Societies — part of the American Baptist Churches USA — has a national event planned for later this year, in September. That event, “Space for Grace,” currently is scheduled to be held in-person but nothing is yet set in stone.
“We remain optimistic that uncertainty will turn to certainty, as we continue to pray and to plan for an in-person gathering to be held Sept. 21-23 at the Westin Kansas City (Mo.) at Crown Center,” a recent news item explained.
The ABC’s next biennial missions summit is scheduled for June 2023.