WMU joins in call for prayer; affirms relationship with BWA

by Julie Walters

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) - January 16, 2004 - During a powerful and dynamic retreat on Monday, Jan. 12, the WMU executive board issued a call to prayer for unity among the body of Christ as they unanimously affirmed their historic relationship with the Women's Department of the Baptist World Alliance. Through laughter and tears, women shared their testimonies of how God had blessed their lives through relationships with other women all over the world through BWA.

The subject was raised in light of a report presented by the BWA Study Committee, which was appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention, recommending that the SBC withdraw its membership from the Baptist World Alliance, effective October 1, 2004.

WMU joins other Baptist leaders in their appeal to come together in fervent, consistent prayer for a spirit of unity and reconciliation. "As members of the body of Christ, we need each other-to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to learn from one another-and to stand together in one accord as a strong and bold witness to a lost world," said Wanda S. Lee, executive director-treasurer of national WMU.

In addition to unity and reconciliation, WMU encourages prayer for Baptists to have a strong, bold and credible witness; for wisdom, discernment and courage to do God's will; for a spirit of humility; for compassion for all people; and for comfort and relief for those who are persecuted for voicing their convictions. As Paul admonished us in his letter to the Colossians, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

Woman's Missionary Union has enjoyed a long history of prayer and fellowship with Baptists worldwide through the Baptist World Alliance dating back to 1911 when Edith Campbell Crane, WMU's corresponding secretary from 1907-1911, helped organize the first women's meeting.

And that was just the beginning.

For more than 90 years, WMU leaders have left a rich heritage as they organized and presided over women's meetings, served on countless committees, and served as officers for the Women's Department of the BWA.

Today, WMU's strong partnership with BWA continues as Wanda Lee serves as a member of the BWA executive and the BWAid committees.

Relationships are fundamental to WMU's purpose as a missions organization. "It is through fellowship with Christ and other Christians that we experience personal growth and develop a deeper understanding of the needs around the world," said Lee. "In the context of our missions task, it is through this fellowship that we become more effective as we grow in our passion and a sense of urgency to be light in a dark world."

As an auxiliary, WMU also enjoys and values its relationship to the North American Baptist Women's Union (NABWU), one of the Continental Unions of the Women's Department of the BWA. In addition to relationships through NABWU, WMU has identified more than 40 nations that have some form of WMU organizations that relate through their Continental Union to the Women's Department of the BWA.

WMU will continue to participate in and support the Baptist Women's World Day of Prayer and offering each November. In addition to uniting women in worldwide prayer on this day, the World Day of Prayer offering provides the sole source of income for the Women's Department which functions as an auxiliary to the BWA.


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