VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/18/12)—“August 25, 2012 will forever be remembered as a day when American Baptist International Ministries (IM) entered into a covenant of partnership with the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship (CBF), a region of the Baptist World Alliance,” reported Eleazar Ziherambere, IM’s director of African American Mission. The covenant was signed at the Mid-Term Assembly of the CBF at St. John’s on the island of Antigua.
This new partnership paves the way for churches in the US to partner with sister churches in the Caribbean. “It is our hope and prayer that through this covenant, we will be closer than ever before to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and serve with them in the hands and arms of Jesus Christ.” explained Ziherambere.
IM has a long history and heritage in serving our Lord Jesus Christ with people in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Haiti, and Dominican Republic. IM missionaries have served alongside their brothers and sisters in those countries for decades. What was new on August 25th was the covenant with all the CBF member bodies, including:
English speaking: Antigua, Barbados (2 groups), Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad (3 groups), St Lucia, St Vincent, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands.
French & Creole speaking: Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Martin (French)
Spanish speaking: Cuba (2 groups), Dominican Republic
The covenant will include 22 nations with 25 individual conventions/unions including the Antigua Baptist Association, a small group of only four churches and 250 baptized members in the island of 90,000 inhabitants.
“It is worth noting that the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship has both large and small member bodies,” offered Ziherambere. “One thing they have in common is the zeal to see that the Gospel is preached to all their communities. I have had a chance to build connection with the French Baptists in the island of Guadeloupe, and while they appear to be a minority in CBF they are so excited with their contribution to the life and heritage they bring to the family.”
Short and long-term missionaries are needed, especially in education and training, evangelism, church growth, social work and Christian unity.
American Baptist International Ministries (IM) was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.