The Kingdom of God is like…

The Kingdom of God is like…

May 22, 2017

“The Kingdom of God is like…” a room full of brothers and sisters in Christ singing praise to God in several languages, the walls around them lined with the flags of many nations. It is bigger than that, of course. The sixty official delegates and observers sometimes swelled to more from nearby churches as they shared in worship, sermons, and Bible studies on the theme. Each represented many others as they pondered the Kingdom within us, among us, here and now as well as yet to come: this small thing, like a mustard seed, so full of potential to grow. Such was the spirit of the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation’s eighth session held in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, January 22-28, 2017. President Dale Thorngate had planned a week full of business, education, worship, and fellowship. From the opening welcome by Brazil Conference President João Teles dos Santos to the closing communion and the celebration of the Federation’s Fiftieth Anniversary led by General Secretary Andrew Samuels, all went well. Participants enjoyed Brazil’s welcoming hospitality coordinated by Host Committee Chairman, Douglas Machado, a man for all challenges. Whether it was adjusting the sound system and video equipment, keeping everyone in tow for sightseeing and church visits, making an emergency trip to the hospital, or assuming around- the-clock translation service, our hosts were there. Friendly, gentle horses roamed the grounds of Chácara da Esperança retreat center with us, whether on the soccer fields or on the paths and seating under ancient Araucaria trees that shaded the buildings. Guests relished endless fresh mango and papaya, ubiquitous rice & beans, and, yes, Brazilian beef. Of course delegates’ main business was business: receiving reports from officers and each member conference, separating into committees to review reports and their recommendations and bring items back to the floor for action, election of officers and plans for the next five years of the Federation’s work. Five committees worked hard on that review and planning. They were chaired by Claudia Ferguson, Constitution Review; Canaan Phiri, Membership; Gavin Fox, Finance & Budget; Naval Harley, Nominations; and Devon Levy, Report Review. Perhaps the most exciting action was acceptance of the Seventh Day Baptist Conference of Rwanda...

Experiencing World Federation Sessions as a Delegate

Experiencing World Federation Sessions as a Delegate

May 22, 2017

by Canaan Phiri, new WF Vice President for Africa “How good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1) True to the reflections of the Psalmist, I believe this should be the same feeling for each and every SDB once he or she tastes the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation (SDBWF) fellowship. I attended the SDBWF sessions for the first time in 2003 in Bocaiúva do Sul, Brazil; it left an indelible mark of experience on me and after that I wanted to keep attending the gatherings at every opportunity. The current experience begins with my nomination by the Central Africa Conference (Malawi) Board to be one of the official delegates to the January 2017 Sessions in Curitiba, Brazil. I trusted God to take me through the hurdles of travel costs and obtaining a visa, and it happened. I was so thrilled to be part of the session which was also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the SDBWF, under the theme, “The Kingdom of God is like …” If ever you had a feeling that you were alone and in a minority, after attending the WF sessions you got the conviction that you belonged to a big global family. I happen to be one who globe trots attending various conferences, workshops, and symposiums, both secular and religious in nature; however, I find the SDBWF unique. It is the feeling of belonging that makes me feel at home and freer at SDBWF sessions. Despite the diversity of our respective conference practices, there is always the basic principle and conviction that I am amongst my own SDB brothers and sisters.   Such gatherings enhance cohesion between regional fellowship groupings. Just imagine — I got to know my Zambian brother from just across the border at a meeting held overseas and thousands of miles away. Though seemingly awkward, it is the WF sessions that bring us together even as neighboring conferences and enable us to share ideas for outreach or further interaction. Indeed it was at such a gathering in 1992 that the Africa General Conference concept was born. It is at such meetings, that we are able to learn from one...

A Translator’s View of the SDB World Federation Experience

A Translator’s View of the SDB World Federation Experience

May 22, 2017

By Daisy Moitinho and Amaury Moitinho To be translator at SDB World Federation Sessions was an honor and a blessing. We asked the Lord to help us to translate exactly what He wanted to speak to everybody there, and we thank the Lord for His help. It was wonderful to meet people from all parts of the world speaking the same language — we mean Seventh Day Baptist language. It was a big challenge to understand all kinds of “Englishes” there. We thank Clinton Brown for his help in translating English to English for us. We thank all participants for their patience when we did not understand them and asked them to repeat and all of them were very nice to us. The informal conversations during the meals and outside the sessions were very helpful to understand the view of each nation. Although all conferences are different in their beliefs, cultures, and in the way they worship the Lord, we could not notice any problem among them. Participants were very interested to know how each other works as they shared experiences. Daisy translated for the Report Review Committee and it was hard work, but the group worked together in a very smooth way. Amaury worked with the Constitution Review Committee and he had the opportunity to learn more about the organization of the SDB World Federation. It was a wonderful experience to learn more about our church not only in Brazil, but around the world. We thank the Lord for this...

Notes from a WF Sessions Observer

Notes from a WF Sessions Observer

May 22, 2017

by Levi Bond Attending World Federation meetings as an observer in Brazil was a wonderful experience. It took about eighteen months for planning and preparation to be able to go. I took the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course, which is sponsored by the Missionary Society. From there it was hard work — securing help from my association, church, and family to save up for the big trip. Last, was a trip to San Francisco to apply for a visa, and visit the Bay Area SDB Church. For the first weekend we were honored guests at the Brazil Family Conference. While I could only communicate with a few people in English, everyone was wonderful. The Brazilians also wore me out on the soccer field Sabbath afternoon and at 6:00 AM Sunday morning. The World Federation meetings had a similar format to USA & Canada Conference with a mix of worship, fellowship, and business. Observers were welcomed to participate in committees and business sessions, but could not vote. I was glad to have the opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts on a number of topics. The theme was “The Kingdom of God is like…” and it was a blessing to hear our brothers and sisters from around the world preach and teach on that subject. Highlights for me included sightseeing around Curitíba on Wednesday, where we only scratched the surface of many wonderful places to visit. Then on Friday we visited four SDB churches in the area. We were warmly welcomed at every one of them. It was a great blessing to meet more members of my Christian family who are in all corners of the world, and a challenge to see that family grow to many more...

What was most meaningful or most memorable for you in the 2017 World Federation sessions?

What was most meaningful or most memorable for you in the 2017 World Federation sessions?

May 22, 2017

The most significant thing: to meet my brothers and sisters from different countries…and be received in great and perfect love. (Karimutumye, Rwanda) There was love and a sense of belonging in every activity, service, and conversation, especially the music…. I think of the words of a song Sandi Patty recorded which says, “Love in any language, fluently spoken here!” (Margaret Taylor, USA & Canada) Most memorable: hearing the reports from the respective delegates about the things happening within their conferences and enjoying the camaraderie and fellowship between the delegates. (Devon Levy, Jamaica) Most meaningful: the passion that was shared by the delegates who were representing the ministries of their conferences to reach the lost and the camaraderie that was established so quickly among the attendees. (Pethtel, USA & Canada) I felt so happy to meet leaders of the World Federation. We are members of a family…we ate from the same dish, slept in the same halls, dressed in the same T-shirts and sang the same hymns of victory. (Nsubuga, Uganda) My favorite memory: the music led by Luiz Miranda. It was lively, worshipful, and in a variety of styles. He even organized the first World Federation choir! (Petersen, USA & Canada) I thank the WF committee and SDBs in Brazil for making this happen: meeting the other Seventh Day Baptist leaders, our brothers and sisters in Christ, from the other parts of the world. (Marcelo, Philippines)...