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Greetings to American Baptist Churches, USA

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit's greetings to the American Baptist International Ministries and American Baptist Churches, USA, on the occasion of 200th anniversary of the General Missionary Convention.

30 April 2014

Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
Isaiah 54:2

Dear American Baptist sisters and brothers,

On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I give thanks and praise to God for your faithful witness to our Lord Jesus Christ as you celebrate this year of jubilee marking the 200th anniversary of the General Missionary Convention in 1814!

It is striking that your formation as a national church body arose out of commitment to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The American Baptist Churches were first conceived not as a self-contained “denomination” but as a missionary society of international scope and outreach.

William Carey, the Baptist “father of modern missions” who in 1813-14 encouraged Baptist congregations in the USA to organize support for Adoniram and Ann Hasseltine Judson, often took as his text for mission Isaiah 54:2 and its vision of an expanding tent that could provide a place of shelter, a space for community and a home for all. In the two-century history of the American Baptist International Ministries, we have seen an important aspect of this vision being realized.

American Baptists have exemplified the “movement” dynamic of modern missions and played a significant role in the series of regional and world mission conferences that culminated in the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910. There, the modern ecumenical movement began to take shape and eventually produced the International Missionary Council and the World Council of Churches (WCC) – with American Baptists active in the foundation of both bodies.

We give thanks for our relationship with you. As is said in the WCC new mission statement, “Together towards Life”:

We understand that our participation in mission, our existence in creation and our practice of the life of the Spirit are woven together, for they are mutually transformative. Mission that begins with creation invites us to celebrate life in all its dimensions as God’s gift.

May the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, continue to guide, to bless and to transform us and all whom we meet in mission, throughout all the days to come.

In the love of Jesus Christ our Saviour,

WCC general secretary
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit