Ede (BWA) — John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) in the United States, has been nominated to be president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA).
Raul Scialabba of Argentina, chair of the BWA Officers Search Committee, made the recommendation to the BWA General Council on Friday, June 31, which is convening during the BWA Annual Gathering taking place in Ede, Netherlands, from July 27-August 1. The General Council accepted the committee’s recommendation, thus making Upton the official nominee for BWA president.
The next Baptist World Congress, to be held in Hawaii in 2010, will vote on the General Council’s nomination. If elected, Upton will be president of the BWA from 2010-2015, succeeding David Coffey of Britain, who was elected during the Centennial Congress held in Birmingham, England, in 2005.
Upton has had a long association with the BWA, and has served on the two governing bodies of the international Baptist organization, the General Council and the Executive Committee. He is currently chair of the Congress Program Committee, which assists in planning the 20th Baptist World Congress to be held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu from July 28-August 1, 2010.
In addition, Upton has served on the Baptist World Aid Committee, the Commission on Christian Ethics, and the Executive Committee of the North American Baptist Fellowship, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA.
“The President needs to be someone… who will be able to represent the BWA before governmental authorities and world religious leaders with Christian demeanor and wisdom,” Scialabba told members of the General Council.
“The president needs to be a person of vision who captures a sense of a bigger tomorrow” and is “able to unite diverse peoples within and for the BWA,” Scialabba declared.
The president-elect attended the Baptist-affiliated Averett College (now Averett University) in Danville, Virginia, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in the USA, and the Taiwan Language Institute. He received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Kerrala, India.
Upton was elected executive director of the BGAV and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board in November 2001. Prior to this appointment, he served as group leader of the Mission Mobilization Group of the BGAV, beginning in 1995. Earlier, he was pastor of Urbanna Baptist Church in Urbanna, Virginia, from 1984-1986 and 1991-1995. Between 1986 and 1991 he and his wife, Deborah, served as missionaries in Taiwan through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.