Neville Callam, ninth general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance and the first non-white to head the global alliance of Baptist conventions and unions founded in 1905, has announced plans to retire at the end of 2017.
Policies of the organization with 235 member unions representing 45 million Baptists in 122 countries and territories request the general secretary, the chief executive officer, to give a minimum notice of 12 months before retirement.
Elected in 2007, Callam, a pastor from Jamaica, not only broke the color barrier but was the first BWA leader from outside the United States or Europe. Callam called his selection a declaration that the “Baptist world family joyfully declares that the BWA has become a worldwide body with a truly global reach.”
In his retirement notice letter, Callam said his commitment in serving the BWA was to “draw attention to the church’s mission as the mission of God.”
Former BWA President John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, said Callam “modeled unsurpassed excellence of service” and “has challenged the BWA to become increasingly an authentic global Baptist community.”
A search committee will be appointed to find Callam’s successor.