Merger of Baptist World Congress and youth conference proposed. Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Neville Callam has proposed the Baptist World Congress and the Baptist Youth World Conference be merged. BWA plans both events, held at five-year intervals, normally two years apart from each other. Callam cited concerns about declining attendance at the two global events. The Baptist World Congress drew more than 20,000 participants at the 1980 meetings in Canada. In 2010 in Hawaii, only 4,400 attended. The youth conference attracted 7,000 in Scotland in 1988 and 8,000 in the United States in 1998. In 2013, only 2,700 youth attended the event in Singapore.
Moldovan honored with BWA human rights award. Ilie Coada of Moldova is the 2014 recipient of the Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award, presented by the Baptist World Alliance to an individual who has made significant and effective contributions to secure, protect, restore or preserve human rights. The award will be presented in July at the next meeting of the BWA General Council in Izmir, Turkey. Coada, a Baptist pastor, dedicated his life and resources to preventing young girls from becoming victims of human trafficking—often at great personal risk. He opened a shelter where vulnerable girls could live and continue their education, as well as a transition home where girls attending schools in the city may go for holidays and weekends. Coada founded a community center that offers after-school and summer programs, including tutoring, to more than 500 children. He instituted scholarships that enable at-risk girls to attend vocational schools and university, and he developed greenhouses and other small businesses that offer employment to girls and women. He also began an elder-care program on the compound of the children’s center so elders can share meals and fellowship and spend time with the children as “adopted grandparents.”
WorldCrafts adds new artisan groups and products. WorldCrafts—a fair-trade partner of Woman’s Missionary Union—has partnered with impoverished artisans from Mexico to China to Kenya. The 30-plus products from three artisan groups—Eden Ministry and Starfish Project in Asia and Zapotec Ancestory in Mexico—are among more than 150 products featured in the spring/summer catalog. Eden Ministry restores freedom for the captives of Asia’s red-light districts through holistic programs—transforming body, mind and spirit. Seeking to restore hope to exploited women in Asia, Starfish Project established a socially responsible jewelry company in 2006 to offer meaningful alternative employment, vocational training, educational grants and an array of social programs to women trapped in exploitative situations. In the Mexican city of Oaxaca, weaving is an ancient tradition throughout Zapotec villages. To learn more about the artisan groups, their products and other WorldCrafts partners, click here.