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By Patsy Davis
The month was November. The date was the eleventh in the year 1958. The setting was Calcutta, India. It
is a great city indeed; but, to the Baptists of the world, it was, and continues to be, the city where British Baptist
missionary, William Carey, wrote a life changing history in the 1790s in indelible letters which remain etched on
the hearts of every Baptist. Little did the city or the world know that into the Lower Circular Road Baptist Church,
Baptist women, arrayed in colorful native dresses, were making their way to add yet another incredible and
beautiful chapter in the annals of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department.
There were 35 women who were delegates from nine Asian countries, Burma, Ceylon, Hong Kong, Hawaii,
India, Indonesia, Japan, East Pakistan and the Philippines, who had gathered at the Lower Circular Road Baptist
Church. Mrs. George Martin, President of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department, called the women
who sat before her in stillness to rise and form a Continental Union of Baptist Women in Asia.
— From a report by Mercy Jeyaraja Rao, a founding member of ABWU
The month was January. The date was the seventh in the year 2009. The setting was Kolkata (Calcutta),
India, where once (CONTINUED NEXT PAGE)

Photo: Delegates attending the 11th assembly of the Asian Baptist Women’s Union


Several members of staff of the Baptist World Alliance, including General Secretary Neville Callam, attended a prayer breakfast held
to honor Martin Luther King Jr., and to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.
The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast was held in the US capital of Washington, DC, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 19, a
national public holiday within the US.
Guests at the prayer breakfast included Lee Tae-sik, South Korean ambassador to the United States, William Rudolph, rabbi at
Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland, and 11-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and evangelist Shirley Caesar.
Keynote speaker Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in the Washington, DC, suburb of Alexandria in Virginia,
stated that the occasion of the inauguration of Obama to the US presidency is a special moment to be marked. Wesley declared to the
largely African American audience that this was a moment filled with excitement and celebration, but that “this is not the end of the
journey, we have battles still to fight.”
The breakfast was one of several events of The People’s Inaugural Project sponsored by the Stafford Foundation. The Foundation was
founded in 2002 by Earl Stafford Sr., an African American businessman and deacon at Alfred Street Baptist Church. It is a faith-based,
nonprofit organization formed to help “the underserved, the marginalized and the distressed.”

Photo: Earl Stafford Sr., founder of the Stafford Foundation, addresses the guests at The People’s Inaugural Project prayer breakfast.

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