2000: Havana, Cuba

The commission met in Havana, Cuba, during the BWA’s Annual Gathering from July 3-8, 2000.cuba-pt (1)


Chuck Weber (Chairperson), Craig Sherouse, Ken Manley, David Parker, Quinn Pugh, Albert Wardin, Lewis Drummond, Winston Clemetson, Arnaldo Galdez, Thomas Corts, Eljee Bentley, John Compton, James Scirratt, Roberto De Souza, Cawley Bolt, Horace Russell, Philip Rahming, Misiodera Hernandez, Dinorah Mendez, Karl Henlin, Richard Dwyer, Elisa Perez, Eudenai Martiz, Raymundo Agvileoa, Alice Donker, Robert Cochran, Lambert Mills, Sheila Heneise, Efren Reyes, Geoff Pound (Secretary).


Tuesday July 4 6:00-7:00 pm

This gathering in the auditorium of the Calvary Baptist Church was led by Rev Tony Cupit. It was a worthwhile time, especially for new members of the commissions. Tony explained the history of the six study commissions, introduced the chair people of the current commissions and invited some people to speak about what participation on a commission had meant to them.

Tony encouraged commissions to be creative in their work and to look for appropriate ways to foster joint meetings of two or more commissions.


July 4, 7.00-8.00pm

Welcome in Havana’s Capitol Buildingcuba-wel

1. Chuck Weber welcomed members and led in devotions from Deuteronomy 6.

2. Members introduced themselves and their historical interests.

3. Addresses were received. It was decided to send at least two formal newsletters to members each year.

4. Chuck gave an overview of the commission meetings in Havana.

5. Albert Wardin informed members of the response to his BAPTISTS AROUND THE WORLD book. He also informed people that the Southern Baptist Heritage Society had become independent of the Southern Baptist Convention.

6. George Younger, BWA representative to the United Nations spoke to the commission about how Baptists were regarded by those he contacted within the UN. He said Baptists were seen as: 1. Negative-usually against everything. 2. Invisible-not recognised for their work in the material world. 3. Positive-once they get to know you as a person they respond positively.

7. BWA Centennial History. Eljee Bentley gave the following report on planning for this historical record:

Report from BWA Centennial History Committee

The Centennial History Committee, meeting last July in Dresden, selected Dr. Richard V. Pierard, professor of history at Indiana State University (to be emeritus December 2000) and visiting professor of history, Gordon College (Wenham,.MA) 2000-2001, as editor and Dr. Gerald Borchert of Northern Baptist Seminary and Dr. Eljee Bentley as associate editors.

The committee met with the editor at the BWA offices on August 30, 1999, to establish a timeline for publication, approve an outline of the book, select writers, and suggest persons who should be consulted as to what happened and how it affected Baptists in their parts of the world Judson Press has agreed to publish the book (3000 copies), which will be available by the spring of 2005.

The OUTLINE follows (writers named have already accepted assignment; items listed exemplify topics to be covered but are not exclusive). An added feature of the book will be boxed biographies and anecdotes, inserted where they add color to, the text, contributed by BWA members from around the world.

Introduction Richard Pierard Description of BWA, its organization, tasks. Tasks (for example: mission and evangelism; religious liberty; relief and development) will serve as themes that recur throughout the history, receiving less or more attention as is appropriate.

Chapter l (before 1905) Ideas of cooperation; Baptist national bodies coming together; other Christian movements for cooperation; impact of missions on global awareness

Chapter 2 (1905-18) Baptist Congress in London 1905: how it came about; what happened. The new organization; subsequent development, emphasis on religious liberty. Philadelphia Congress; women’s meeting (191 1). Impact of World War I.

Chapter 3 (1918-~930) Relief efforts following WW1 Russian Revolution; uncertainties of 1920s. Stockholm (1923) and Toronto (1928); extending international ties in Europe and Latin America. Beginning of youth work.

Chapter 4 (1930~-47) Impact of depression, Nazism; Berlin Congress (1934); Asian work; Atlanta Congress (1939), its actions. Impact of World War II; removal of office to US. Emergency relief programs. Copenhagen (1947) revitalizes BWA.

Chapter 5 (1948-60) Morgan Patterson Refugee and resettlement efforts; effects of anti- and post-colonialism; tensions of Cold War; race relations. Development of youth and women’s work and beginning of men’s department. Beginning of continental unions. Major institutional growth; first study commissions formed. Congresses in Cleveland (1950) and London (1955).

Chapter 6 (1960-70) Internationalizing the BWA; first congress outside of Europe and North America–Rio de Janeiro (1960). Bylaw changes in Miami (1965) that provide for full representation of constituent bodies. Asian union formed. More emphasis on evangelism and on regional conferences. Tokyo Congress (1970).

Chapter 7 (1970-80) Faith Bowers/David Russell Reorganizing to face changing world: shift from fellowship to program activities; constitutional revision in Stockholm (1975)-four divisions, General Council. General Council gradually overshadows congress as functioning body. Improved travel and communications. Increasing self-esteem of developing nations and their Baptist unions. Continental unions play greater role; more regional and specialized conferences.

Chapter 8 (1980-89) Maturing of the BWA. Toronto (1980) and Los Angeles (1985). Increasing role of commissions; emphasis on human rights and religious liberty; conversations with other churches. Evangelism and education. Baptist World Aid.

Chapter 9 (1989-95) Albert Wardin Effects of the crumbling of Soviet-style communism and of South African apartheid. Opening of China and Cuba, Baptist growth there. Impact of resurgent nationalism and ethnic strife. Baptist mediation in India and elsewhere. Congresses in Seoul (1995) and Buenos Aims (2000).

Chapter 10 (1995-2005) Ken Manley Significant role non-Western people play in BWA. Struggle to bring national unions and churches to fore vis-a-vis Western churches and mission societies. New alignments in Europe. Challenges of globalization. Melbourne (2000) and its initiatives. Forward to the centennial Congress.

Afterward: Denton Lotz: Looking to the future.

Appendices: Congresses (when and where) BWA officers through years. Statistics on various aspects of BWA

Submitted on behalf of the editor and committee (Denton Lotz, Tony Cupit, James Leo Garrett, Gerald Borchert, John Briggs, Horace Russell, Eljee Bentley, and Ruby Burke.

8. Further Heritage news presented by Eljee Bentley included the following report:


WEB SITE to serve as resource on Baptist heritage in US and Canada To be operational January 1, 2001 Being prepared by a task group of Baptist historians/archivists under sponsorship of Baptist Convention of District of Columbia

Tentative Contents

Home Page Who Are Baptists? History, Bibliography, Frequently Asked Questions Baptist Groups Alphabetized list (with addresses, web sites, brief descriptions) of general Baptist bodies in US and Canada Dictionary of terms used by Baptists Directories Directories of US and Canadian Baptist (1)Historical societies, archives, and collections; (2)Educational institutions; (3)Historians; (4)Historical sites; (S)Publishers What’s New? Current and upcoming events and publications

THE PRIMARY SOURCE has new editor, wants contributions for publication. The Primary Source is an international newsletter of Baptist history published biannually by the American Baptist Historical Society from the American Baptist Samuel Colgate Historical Library (ll06 South Goodman Street; Rochester, New York 14620).

The new editor is Stuart Campbell. Contact him for subscription or to submit items for publication (news of upcoming or recent conferences, other events, acquisitions, finds; new publications; brief articles).

NEW BAPTIST HISTORY BOOK PUBLISHING PROGRAM was launched by the Southern Baptist Historical Society (independent of the Southern Baptist Convention since 1995). Planned are a new Baptist heritage pamphlet series and undated curriculum. The society is continuing to sell at reduced prices past issues of Baptist History and Heritage, pamphlets from older series, and the remaining copies of Jesse Fletcher’s The Southern Baptist Convention: a Sesquicentennial History. For more information contact Charles Deweese.


July 5, 5:00-7:00pm

This session looked at the life of William Carey and included the screening of the new video based on his life entitled “Candle in the Dark.”

Prior to the screening Dr Timothy George stated five things that continue to speak to us about Carey’s life. His life shows:

1. What God can do through one individual passionately committed to Jesus Christ. 2. The importance of contextualization. 3. The essential link between evangelism and social ministry. 4. The power of the Scriptures. 5. The importance of Christian unity.


July 6, 7:00-9:00pm (Capitol Building)

1. Pastor Jose Martiz Mendoza addressed the commission on the subject of “Baptists in Cuba: Past and Present” after which discussion ensued.

The commission agreed that the full script be distributed among all members after the paper had been translated.[Action: Chuck Weber]

2. General Secretary of the Jamaican Baptist Union, Karl Henlin, gave an address on “Baptists in the Caribbean.”

We are hoping that this script will be available to Commission members.


July 7, 7:00-9:00pm (Capitol Building)

This session took the theme “Looking at the Future: Planning for the next five years.”

Preliminary Business included the following items:

1. Letter of apology was received and read, from Noel Vose.

2. Several members shared about their heritage interests which included: Chuck Weber speaking about a new book on Asian and African history Quinn Pugh speaking about his historical monodramas Robert Cochran speaking about vignettes on Baptists along the Potomac Albert Wardin speaking about his writing projects Vincent the pictorial history of the Baptists in Jamaica.

3. Future Possibilities for the Heritage and Identity Commission:

a. Relationship between our commission and other commissions Horace Russell spoke of the importance of the subject of baptism and political freedom. Albert Wardin mentioned the relationship between our commission and the Freedom and Justice Commission especially in identifying indigenous national heroes or indigenous Baptist liberators.

b. BWA Heritage & Identity Commission Web Site

David Parker gave a presentation (which was also given at the BWA Heritage Focus Group at the Melbourne Congress 2000) entitled BAPTIST HERITAGE EXPLODES WITH COMPUTERS & INTERNET. (This can be seen on the web site).

In the discussion that followed as we considered the proposal to establish a Baptist Heritage Web Site the following points were made:

1. Would the web site have many languages? It would commence with English but if there are translators who are happy to work with the web master then it may certainly be available in other languages.

2. It is important that in using the Internet and email increasingly for our communication that we do not discriminate against those who do not have computers.

3. It would be good to have addresses in words but also that we encourage pictorial presentations through the web site.

Agreed: “That we formally endorse the establishment of a BWA Heritage Web Site.”

The role of the web site is to encourage: Networking-building a network of people interested in Baptist Heritage and Identity, bringing people together on-line, exchanging news, sharing and requesting expert help and resources. Publishing-making papers available on-line for members present at the commission meetings, those absent and others not formally members of the commission. Resourcing-to encourage on-line resources to equip and encourage people in the work of heritage e.g. books on the establishment of an archives.

Agreed: “That we express our sincere appreciation to Dr David Parker for his presentation and appoint him as the BWA Heritage Webmaster.”

Agreed: “That we encourage other commissions in the use of the Internet and through Tony Cupit coordinate any new initiative in order that there be an integrated approach with the linking of sites and pages.” [Action: David Parker]

Agreed: “That initial start up costs for the Web site be funded out of funds especially designated for this purpose.”

Agreed: “That we request through Tony Cupit an annual grant from the BWA budget to support the communication of Baptist heritage.”

Agreed: “That the officers of the Heritage & Identity Commission act as an editorial reference group and support for David Parker.”

GEOFF POUND, Secretary