Plans are underway for a sixth Global Baptist Peace Conference to be held in Cali, Colombia, in 2018.
The gathering, scheduled Jan. 29-Feb. 3, 2018, is for Baptists across the globe who are passionate about nonviolence, social justice and the witness of Baptist peacemaking.
Conference co-coordinator Paul Hayes, pastor of Noank Baptist Church in Noank, Conn., said Baptists in Cali are already working to ensure a welcoming experience for the first Global Baptist Peace Conference to be held on the South American continent.
“These conferences provide a great opportunity to meet peacemakers from all over the world, learn about the issues of importance affecting them and their communities and discover new and diverse ways of approaching peace work,” Hayes said in a press release from the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. “Overall it provides a chance to work together as peacemakers in a global context.”
Formed in 1984 at Deer Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America first connected with like-minded Baptist advocates for peace and justice from around the globe at the inaugural Global Baptist Peace Conference in Sweden in 1998.
Subsequent international gatherings followed in Nicaragua (1992), Thailand (1996), Australia (2000) and Italy (2009).
Allison Paksoy, communications manager for the Charlotte, N.C.,-based BPFNA, said the committee’s first formal conversation about the 2018 event was on Feb. 12.
Paksoy, a member of the conference planning team, said a theme has not yet been determined, but activities will include training, workshops and plenary sessions to equip attendees with knowledge, resources and action items to work for peace in their own contexts.
Listing 87 partner churches, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America expanded its name in 2015 to include Bautistas por la Paz, a move to highlight peacemaking work done by Baptist churches in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
The BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz is offering scholarship assistance for the 2018 Global Baptist Peace Conference in Colombia through a 2016 grant from the Gavel Memorial World Peace Fund.
Established in 1995 with a bequest from the estate of Victor and Eileen Gavel, a businessman and wife from St. Louis active in American Baptist Churches USA, the Gavel Fund supports Baptist leaders involved in strategic peace and justice ventures around the world.
Other Gavel projects approved for 2016 include conflict transformation training for elections in Uganda, a friendship and learning tour concerning marginalized women in Kenya, aid for street children in Zambia, ministry to detained immigrants in Arizona and combatting violence in Mexico.
Paksoy said members of the leadership team planning the 2018 Global Baptist Peace Conference represent countries including Colombia, United States, Canada, India, Kenya, Italy, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Liberia, Morocco, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia, Myanmar, United Kingdom, Palestine, Jamaica, Australia and Norway.
This story has been changed to correct the spelling of Colombia and the profession of Victor Gavel.