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BWA Launches Search for New General Secretary

MEXICO CITY–The Baptist World Alliance will announce a new general secretary in March 2007, if the search committee sticks to its published time line.

BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz announced in March he would not complete his current five-year term. On Friday Lotz said his retirement takes effect at the end of December 2007. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
John Sundquist, the retired international ministries executive with American Baptist Churches in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />U.S.A., gave an extensive report to the delegates at the General Council meeting in Mexico City about the search committee process.
 
Sundquist said the candidate for Lotz’s successor would need to “have an evident personal relationship with Jesus Christ, be a competent administrator, a compelling speaker and writer, and an effective fundraiser.”
 
The financial aspects of the position were repeated through a document distributed to the attendees.
 
A new general secretary would also need to have an effective command of the English language, said Sundquist.
 
Other qualifications sought in the BWA’s next leader, he said, are deep commitment to religious freedom, human rights and justice.
 
In response to a question, Sundquist assured delegates the candidate will have an abiding commitment to global evangelism. 
 
“The general secretary provides spiritual leadership in the worldwide relationships among member conventions and unions and between the BWA and other Christian groups,” said Sundquist.
 
Sundquist said Lotz will not be involved in the selection of his successor. The personnel committee has done an exit interview with Lotz, Sundquist said, seeking his advice about leadership needs.
 
BWA bylaws assign the search committee process to the personnel committee.
 
In addition to Sundquist, members of the personnel committee include two retired Southern Baptist executives: Bill Hogue, who retired as executive director of the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1995, and Dellanna O’Brien, executive director of the SBC auxiliary Woman’s Missionary Union from 1989 to 1999. Hogue is a member of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas. O’Brien belongs to Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco, Texas, a Baptist General Convention of Texas church.
 
Other personnel committee members are Young Shim Chang, member of the Korea Baptist Convention; Solomon Ishola, general secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention; Terry Rae, former general secretary of Baptist Union of Southern Africa; Raul Scialabba, member of the Evangelical Baptist Convention of Argentina; Wallace Charles Smith, member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; Cora Sparrowk, member of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A.; William Thompson, president of the National Baptist Missionary and Education Convention, Bahamas; and Portia Tyler-Lloyd, a member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.  
 
Two non-personnel committee members were added to the search committee. One was Valeriu Ghiletchi, president of the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptist of Moldova. The other was an unnamed woman, who had not confirmed her participation.
 
Five of the 13 members are women, and five are U.S. citizens.
 
David Coffey, BWA’s president and the retiring general secretary of Baptist Union of Great Britain, is an ex-officio member of the committee. 
 
The 2007 budget allocates $60,000 for the search committee.
 
Sundquist said the BWA will advertise for the position in August and September.
 
The search committee will solicit nominations from BWA’s different regional bodies.
 
Nominations will be closed Oct. 31, 2006. The general council will act on the search committee’s recommendation at the General Council meeting in Accra, Ghana, in 2007.
 
For more information about the position, go to BWA’s Web site.
 
Robert Parhamis executive director of the BaptistCenter for Ethics.
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