Pastor Nyaniso James Siwani passed away on April 15, 2017. He was General Secretary of the South Africa Conference when they joined the SDB World Federation in 1986. He was delegate to the WF Sessions in 1986 in the United States, 1992 in New Zealand, 1997 in Jamaica, and 2003 in Brazil, serving as WF Vice President for Africa 1997-2008 and attending the Full Executive Committee meeting in 2005 in Michigan, US. In that role he published several issues of a newsletter Voice of Africa which promoted organization of the SDB Africa General Conference and reported on its four meetings (1992, 1994, 1996, and 2001). A short biography is included in his book, The Unknown Made Known: A History of Sabbathkeepers in South Africa, published jointly by the South Africa SDB Conference and the SDB Historical Society in 2005.
We hope that by now, all Seventh Day Baptists are aware that the next Sessions of the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation are scheduled for Brazil, January 22-28, 2017. That is a mere 8 months away. We also know that if one is keeping abreast of international news these days, the country of Brazil is regularly featured in at least two uncomplimentary ways. The first one is that the country’s Senate voted last week (May 19) to suspend its President, Mrs. Dilma Rousseff, and begin an impeachment trial against her. The turbulence leading up to this latest political move, has led to Brazil’s worst economic crisis in decades. It causes some people to wonder if Brazil is a secure and stable place to visit at this time.
The second crisis facing the country is the presence of the Zika virus, which is primarily spread by mosquitoes. That has also certainly raised some concerns in the minds of people. The Seventh Day Baptist World Federation is committed to being responsible and alert to relevant matters as the planning for the Sessions intensifies. The travel advisory is very clear: if you are pregnant, do not travel to Brazil. However, other travelers may visit Brazil without fear of irresponsible risk. The Summer Olympics are scheduled for Rio de Janeiro later this year, and although in some quarters there have been calls for a canceling or relocation of the Games, so far plans are moving ahead as scheduled.
What then should one do? Please prayerfully continue to make your plans to travel to Brazil. Further, we make the following suggestions:
- Check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website to educate yourself – www.cdc.gov.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellants that contain at least 20% DEET spray.
- Use the N’visible1e patch.
- Cover exposed skin as much as possible.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens, if possible.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net, if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available.
So, these two matters which personally and directly affect our brothers and sisters in Brazil, and us by extension, are matters for prayer. And the SDB World Federation will continue to work diligently to do all that is humanly possible, to plan and coordinate a dynamic week of Spirit-filled activities for the glory of the Lord and the edification of our global Seventh Day Baptist family. We do depend on the Lord to do what we cannot do, and we appreciate your help in every area possible.
May 10, 2016
To: Leaders of all Member Conferences of the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation.
I bring you greetings from our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings, and who daily loads us with benefits.
It is with an immeasurable sense of joy that I announce to you that by an affirmative vote of 15 of our 18 member Conferences, it was decided that the Uganda Seventh Day Baptist Conference be accepted into the membership of the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation. I express my gratitude to each of you for facilitating the vote of your Conference, and for sending in your ballots to my office before the requested deadline.
Please join me in welcoming into our family, our brethren from Uganda on the African continent. Their General Secretary, Rev. Daniel Nsubuga, is planning to be with us in Brazil in January 2017 for the next World Federation Sessions. It is also my prayer that we, or someone from our Conference, are all planning to be there as well.
May the SDB World Federation member Conferences continue to grow exponentially to the glory of God, for of such is His Kingdom.
Yours for the global glory of God,
Pastor Andrew Samuels
SDB World Federation
At their online meeting January 17, the World Federation Executive Committee voted to recommend to member Conferences that they accept the Seventh Day Baptist Uganda Conference as a member of the Federation. Uganda’s application reports 11 churches and 10 cell groups in three regions across the country, 6 ordained ministers and 3 unordained, 239 members plus many children, some of them in one of the three schools operated by the Conference: a junior school, an orphanage/elementary school, and a high school/vocational school.
Pastor Daniel Nsubuga, General Secretary of the Conference, is pictured above with Federation General Secretary Andrew Samuels when he was in Uganda in December 2014 for meetings of East Africa SDB leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda. It is hoped that Federation member conferences can cast their ballots regarding Uganda membership in time for them to have a representative at the SDBWF sessions in Brazil next January.
I believe we can safely say, the countdown has begun towards the next Session of the SDB World Federation, which will be in Brazil, January 22-28, 2017.
At present, over 50 delegates and observers from almost all of the member conferences of the Federation, have pre-registered to be in attendance. Your continued prayers are requested, as the daily schedule for the Session is being planned, and as we seek to bring all the pieces together for a smooth, God-glorifying, people-edifying experience. We also ask for your prayers that enough funds will be raised to ensure that at least one delegate from each conference is able to travel to Brazil, and that all Session-related expenses will be covered.
We encourage all Seventh Day Baptists around the world to unite in prayer the first full week of 2016, January 3-9. Week of Prayer booklets have been mailed or e-mailed to all our conferences. The meditations will focus on, “The Kingdom Of God Is Like…”, and were written by Rev. Dr. Dale Thorngate, President of the World Federation. Pastor Dale will use that identical theme for the Session in Brazil in 2017. In all the SDB Churches that make up our member conferences, I encourage that a special offering be collected for the Federation at least once during the coming year. That could take place on World Federation Sabbath on January 9, 2016, or on any other convenient date. Our semi-centennial fundraiser also continues in this the 50th. year of the Federation’s existence. This is our goal of raising US$50,000 by asking 1,000 Seventh Day Baptists anywhere in the world to donate the equivalent of $50 each. We are grateful to those who have already donated towards that campaign, and pray that others will take advantage of this giving opportunity.
As the curtain is closed on 2015, it is my prayer that Seventh Day Baptists globally will sense God’s clear direction in 2016, allowing Him to be first in our lives in all things.
Since 1967, Seventh Day Baptists around the world have been praying together during the first week of the New Year. Theme for the 2016 Week of Prayer booklet of daily prayer meditations is “The kingdom of God is like…” using Jesus’ teachings to define God’s Kingdom. World Federation President Dale Thorngate is the author of this year’s booklet currently being translated into several languages. “During this 50th Anniversary year for the Federation, we remind each other of the value of long-term international friendships,” Thorngate says. “Despite the terror and fear in our world, we are encouraged to remember the love and peace of God’s Kingdom, available to us and to share.”
Download the booklet here.
World Federation delegates recommend that churches designate an offering for the Federation at least once a year and that member conferences consider designating ten percent of their annual budgets. All contributions may be sent to Mr. Gavin Fox, PO Box 7755, Silver Spring MD 20907 USA or via Pay Pal at Treasurer@sdbwf.org.
January 2017 may seem like a long way off, but in reality it is not. In full recognition of that, the SDB World Federation is appropriately accelerating plans for its next Sessions scheduled for January 22-28, 2017 in Brazil. Historically, the Federation Sessions have been held every five years, except for those times when finances or other factors have prevented that from happening. The last time the Federation met was in 2008 in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the USA.
Thirteen of the seventeen active World Federation member conferences have already submitted completed pre-registration forms indicating their delegate lists, and the process of requesting and obtaining travel visas will ensue. If you are interested in attending as an Observer, please make contact with me using my contact information below.
President Dale Thorngate is also in high gear in his preparation for the Sessions program. His announced theme is, “The Kingdom Of God Is Like…” There will be daily Bible Studies and Worship Services, and there are few experiences as thrilling as the worship of our God using a variety of languages. That is indeed, “a foretaste of glory divine.” There will also be seminars, committee meetings, and business sessions. Some sight-seeing is planned, as well as visits to a few of the local SDB churches in close proximity to the Sessions venue.
The World Federation Semi-centennial fund-raising campaign is also current. Our goal is to raise US$50,000 by challenging 1,000 Seventh Day Baptists anywhere in the world, to donate US$50 each. The first 500 such donors receives an inflatable globe, which can be used to identify and locate the countries where member conferences exist, and also as a prayer guide for those countries. In my next article, I will give an update on the number of Seventh Day Baptists who have accepted that challenge. This campaign will continue for our entire financial year, which ends in June 2016. Donations may be sent to our Treasurer, Gavin Fox at P.O. Box 7755, Silver Spring, MD 20907, USA or by paypal at email@example.com.
Pastor Andrew Samuels
SDB World Federation
2612 Arcadia Drive,
Miramar, FL 33023
The year was 1965. It was the year that Sir Winston Churchill died. It was also the year that Ferdinand Marcos was elected President of the Philippines. And the year that Singapore was admitted as a part of the United Nations. 1965 was also the year that Rhodesia proclaimed independence from Britain. And the year Maclolm X was assassinated. That same year Israel and West Germany began diplomatic relations. And India and Pakistan began engaging in their border fight. And Tibet became an autonomous region of China.
But for Seventh Day Baptists globally, 1965 was the year the World Federation came into being with a composition of four (4) conferences, although there are ten (10) charter members, since that distinction was given to any conference becoming a member up to one year after August, 1965. A world consultation of delegates had taken place in Clarksburg, West Virginia, USA in 1964, which furnished the embryo for the birth of the international organization. The primary purpose of the establishment of the Federation was to provide increased communication among Seventh Day Baptist groups throughout the world. Other purposes were added in subsequent years.
Since 1965, the Federation has met seven (7) times - 1971, 1978, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2003, 2008 – in four (4) countries; USA, New Zealand, Jamaica, and Brazil. It has been ably served by six (6) Executive or General Secretaries, namely Alton Wheeler, K. Duane Hurley, Dale Thorngate, Frits Nieuwstraten, Jan Lek, and Andrew Samuels. Presidents of the organization have also numbered six (6) in the persons of Loren Osborn, David Pearson, James Skaggs, Gabriel Bejjani, Joe Samuels, and Dale Thorngate. So, to date, Rev. Dr. Dale Thorngate has the distinction of being the only individual to serve the SDB World Federation as both Executive Secretary and President.
2015 then is the fiftieth (50th) anniversary of the Federation. That is a milestone worth recognizing and celebrating. We are very grateful to the Lord, without whose enabling power none of the above would be possible. We are also appreciative of the current 18 member conferences of the Federation, as well as those who have been members in the past, for their support of the organization’s work over the years. The current officers who make up the Executive Committee, plus those previous officers also deserve special mention and commendation.
The purposes of the Federation have been broadened in 50 years, and the facilities for international communication have greatly improved with the development of technology. The Federation’s leadership remains committed to positioning us to be world class Seventh Day Baptists, where we change our thinking from local to global, and our perspective is adjusted from self-centered to other-centered.
As we continue to plan for the next Session of the World Federation in Brazil, January 22-28, 2017, we want to use this semi-centennial (50th) year to give Seventh Day Baptists all over the world, an opportunity to join us in raising funds to ensure that at least one delegate from each of the member conferences will be able to attend the upcoming Session in Brazil in 2017. The Session is not just a meeting. It is more than simply an event. It is an integral component in the all-important and continuing process of uniting Seventh Day Baptists globally.
As we celebrate 50 years of existence, we are therefore hereby launching a campaign to raise US$50,000 by asking 1,000 Seventh Day Baptists to invest the equivalent of US$50 each. This drive will continue until June 30, 2016, and for your donation you will become a GLOBAL SEMI-CENTENNIAL PARTNER WITH THE SDB WORLD FEDERATION. As a further incentive, the first 500 donors will receive an inflatable globe which can be helpful in locating each of the member conferences in the world, and motivate you to pray for them even more. 1,000 is only 3.3% of the estimated 30,000 SDB’s worldwide in our member conferences, so this should not be a difficult goal to reach, even with great disparity in the availability of disposable income among our people. We urge you to view this as an investment, not as an expense.
Of course, this specific fundraising drive does not mean that larger or smaller donations will not be accepted. Nor does it mean that churches and/or other entities may not contribute. We continue to encourage you to be responsive to the leading of the Lord in your stewardship to the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation.
Donations may be sent directly to the Federation Treasurer, Gavin Fox, at P.O. Box 7755, Silver Spring, MD 20907, USA or by paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate 50 years of ministry with us. To God Be the glory!
The SDB World Federation requests prayers and any tangible help for the crisis situation being faced by some Burundi Seventh Day Baptists. A picture of the situation is described in the article below, written by Pastor Daniel Nsubuga, General Secretary of the SDB Conference in neighboring Uganda.
Donations may be sent either to the World Federation or the SDB Missionary Society.
Pastor Andrew Samuels
SDB World Federation
Recent political tensions in Burundi have increased uncertainty and fear of violence, leading to displacement in the country, with more than 100,000 people reported to have fled in recent days.
Some of the brethren of the Burundi Conference of SDB’s have found their way to Western Uganda to a sort of camp where there are refugees, and their situation is not all that good. I have gotten a couple of calls but could not respond to the calls.
Last week I sent Pastor Balwana to assess the situation and find out what we can do as the Uganda SDB conference. On return Pastor Balwana said, "their deepest needs are water, food, pads, small blankets, soap and medicines"
Pastor Fred Musisi and I are planning to go see them to assess further the situation. We are trying to solicit food and go there. I know there are already calls from neighbouring regions and I did not expect that people will find their way as far as Uganda, but they are here with terrible needs.
We have gotten all we can with our resources; 20 blankets, children's clothes, little beans and corn. If there is any quick response to this, please kindly help us to help our brothers and sisters of a common faith. More so, we want to help the kids in the group regardless of their faith.
The near by refugee camps are in bad situation that children are dying and some times go days with no food.
You may wonder why Uganda. It is simply because the people of Rwanda and Burundi are divided amongst the two ethinic tribes; Hutus and Tutsis. The two tribes are in constant rivalry. These people could be killed in Rwanda and in Burundi. That makes Uganda a safe haven for them. But in Uganda, while its safe and peaceful for them, we have no food and accommodation. While we are struggling for other details, I seek assistance to see that we carry at least 50 blankets, 50kg of maize, flour, rice and beans. If by God's grace we get US$800 we have locally put together US$200, we hope with US$1000, we can have a simple truck with foods for kids and the elderly as we look for another alternative, or the government of Uganda sets up a refugee camp.
Such is the situation, it is sad on my side. These people enlisted me as their posible help, so I get calls from them and also calls from local government.
May the good Lord bless you and give us all the grace to help the dying. I pray God brings unity in Burundi because with my analysis, the battle is mainly on ethnic grounds.
How I pray they do not get back to the issues of 1990s.
Yours in a blessed living hope,
Nsubuga Daniel Lubuto
Uganda Conference of SDB
When the next SDB World Federation Sessions are held January 22-28, 2017, it will be the second time the Brazilian SDB Conference will serve as hosts. The first such opportunity was in February 2003. That was the first and only time in the then 30-plus year history of the organization, that the Sessions were held in a non-English speaking country. Brazil made history then, and continues to make history as it once again prepares to welcome delegates from the 18 member conferences of the World Federation, located in 19 countries, representing 6 continents of the world.
The Seventh Day Baptist Conference in Brazil has benefited significantly by taking that bold step to host the World Federation Sessions in 2003. This is the view of Brazil’s own Pastor Jonas Sommer, the current World Federation Vice-President for South America. Writing in the June 2013 issue of the Sabbath Recorder, Pastor Jonas expressed, “Today, the T.I.M.E. Program is a reality in Brazil, thanks to the:
- Sessions of the World Federation in 2003
- Visit of the Thorngates (2001, 2003, 2007)
- Visit of Rev. Rodney Henry (2007)
- Visit of Taylors (2009, 2011)
- Support of the Missionary Society
- Support of the Seventh Day Baptist Conference in the USA and Canada.
Pastor Jonas continues, “In 2003, the T.I.M.E. Program was just a dream. In 2009, it became a reality. In 2013 - as we celebrate 100 years of Seventh Day Baptist existence in Brazil – we achieved the mark of 100 students in the Program and secured a partnership with the University Center of Maringa. This makes it possible for T.I.M.E. students to have their certificate recognized not only by the denomination, but also by the Brazilian government.”
The World Federation Sessions is not just a meeting. It is not just an event. It is a significant component in the all-important process of uniting Seventh Day Baptists globally, and in partnering with each other to fulfill the Great Commission.
It is my hope therefore that all our member Conferences will plan to send at least one delegate to Brazil in 2017. Other Conferences that are not yet members of the World Federation are also strongly encouraged to be represented.
We just never know how far-reaching one step in the process could be. Take that step now!