On June 6, 2022, Baptist and Orthodox leaders and theologians from around the world participated in a second Baptist-Orthodox Colloquium, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as online. Rev. Dr. Parush Parushev, Rector of St. Trivelius Institute Sofia, directed the event, which was jointly organized by the Faculty of Theology at Sofia University, the Theological Institute of St. Trivelius, and the Baptist-Orthodox Theology Resource Group of the Baptist World Alliance.

The colloquium engaged the theme “Church and Society” and included a paper by Dr. Brandon Gallaher on the recent document, “A Declaration on the Russian World (Russkii Mir) Teaching,” followed by a lively panel discussion.

Orthodox participants and panelists included: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Svetoslav Ribolov (Bulgaria); Fr. Mihail Mihailov (Bulgaria); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kostadin Nushev (Bulgaria); Dr. Kamelia Slavcheva (Bulgaria); Dr. Tamara Grdzelidze (Georgia); Rev. Dr. Brandon Gallaher (England); and Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou (USA).

Baptist presenters and participants included Rev. Dr. Parush Parushev (Bulgaria); Rev. Dr. Theodor Angelov (Bulgaria); Dr. Daniel R. Patterson (Australian working in Bulgaria); Rev. Otniel Bunaciu (Romania); Dr. Valérie Duval-Poujol (France); Rev. Dr. Paul Fiddes, (England), Rev. Dr. Steve Harmon (USA); Dr. Elizabeth Newman (USA).

“The purpose of these colloquiums is to extend the BWA vision of seeking our essential oneness in the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Elizabeth Newman, Chair of BWA Commission on Baptist Doctrine and Christian Unity. “We do this not by papering over differences but by seeking together ways the church can be more faithful and visible in the world today.”

Saudi Arabia Hosts First Multi-Faith Conference

BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May to participate in the Forum on Values Among Religious Followers, the nation’s first multi-faith conference. Attended by approximately 100 religious leaders representing Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim communities, the event included an opening session and multiple discussion panels addressing topics like human dignity and “Bridging Humanity for the Good of Humanity.”

“All of us came from around the world to sit around a common table to discuss the values that we share as humanity,” said Brown. “As we gathered as faith leaders at a time when over 80% of the world holds to a faith tradition, there was a clear sense that we could do more together to address some of the most pressing challenges in our world today – challenges such as war, violence, hunger, migration, education, gender disparity as well as environmental concerns.”

“There is still a lot of work to be done at the global level, but I am encouraged that the Baptist World Alliance can continue to intentionally cultivate relationships with other Christian traditions as well as other faith traditions.”