The 2020 Baptist World Congress—an international event normally scheduled in five-year intervals—has been postponed until summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The Baptist World Alliance announced March 26 that after “prayerful deliberations,” it was rescheduling the event until July 7-10, 2021, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“This was a difficult but not unprecedented decision as Congresses were postponed during the Great Depression, cancelled during World War II, and delayed as recently as 2003 when the SARS outbreak impacted plans for the Baptist Youth World Conference,” BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown wrote.
“This decision is the result of considerable research and global collaboration. The BWA team has diligently pursued a comprehensive assessment of how to best move forward. Information was rapidly evolving over this time period, which we sought to review and relay as soon as possible to our constituency of prayerful global leaders.”
BWA executive officers and staff, the BWA Executive Committee, Congress committee leaders, the General Secretary of the Union of Baptists in Latin America and leaders of the three Baptist conventions in Brazil—the Brazilian Baptist Convention, the Convention of Independent Baptist Churches and the National Baptist Convention—unanimously reached the decision to postpone the Baptist World Congress, Brown noted.
BWA posted a frequently asked questions section on its website to provide additional information about the Baptist World Congress, he added.
“When we chose the theme of ‘Together’ five years ago, we could never have known how important the concept would be. Now more than ever, it is imperative for us to stand together as both people of hope and champions of compassion,” he said.
Brown reported the BWA Forum for Aid and Development—a network of more than two dozen global agencies—is working to coordinate a collaborative response to COVID-19.
He also encouraged Baptists worldwide to participate in a call to prayer at 8:15 Central on March 30 that will launch a 24-hour prayer marathon. To sign up for a 30-minute slot in the marathon, click here.