Beautiful World

July 10, 2014

BWA staffer Raimundo Barreto
(photo credit: Brian Kaylor)
The stories of the world came alive again today at the Annual Gathering of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) in Izmir, Turkey. Each day here I have loved hearing about Baptists from other countries and talking with Baptists from around the world. The meditation by British Baptist Paul Fiddes in today's morning worship focused on how we are called to be united as one. He noted this even is the theme scripture of the BWA: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." After worship, this morning's session focused on reports from the BWA staff as well as the leaders of the European Baptist Federation and the Asia Pacific Federation. Many exciting stories of Baptists sharing love and making a difference! At lunch, we celebrated the book launch of Baptist Preaching: A Global Anthology by Joel Gregory. The book looks at sermons of preachers from around the world, many of whom are at this meeting. I got a free copy (signed by Gregory) and look forward to reading it.

Fishermen at the Aegean Sea as the sun sets
(photo credit: Brian Kaylor)
This afternoon, I attended a forum co-sponsored by the Commission on Religious Freedom and the Commission on Human Rights Advocacy. It featured several speakers talking about advocating for religious freedom at local, national, and international levels. My Ethics Daily article tomorrow will feature the comments from the forum. After that, I visited some ruins of Smyrna at the Agora. I will write more about that in another blog post. This evening I enjoyed another walk on the Aegean Sea, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of local vendors, fishermen, and others enjoying the beautiful evening. The setting sun with the mountains and sea offers a great visual metaphor for how the stories of Baptists from around the world have sounded this week. You can view photos from my fifth day in Izmir here.

Aegean Sea and setting sun