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African By Eron Henry

The All Africa Baptist Fellowship held its 7th As- sembly from November 16-20 at the Shepherd- hill Baptist Church in Lagos, Nigeria, in a part of the country that seems to teem with Baptist life. The AABF is one of six regional fellowships of the Baptist World Alliance and has the second largest membership in the global Baptist organization, comprising 9.4 million members in more than 35,000 churches, or approximately 22 percent of BWA membership. The Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), host of the assembly, declares proudly itself the third largest Baptist convention or union in the world and the second largest within the BWA, with 3.5 million members in 10,000 churches. The convention, constituted in 1914 after the fi rst Baptist church was planted in the early 1850s, boasts 10 theological seminaries and a university of 4,500 students, in addition to hospitals and clinics in more than 15 cities and villages. NBC also runs a Baptist press and several thousand schools in more than 20 cities and villages. There was a strong Nigerian fl avor to the assembly in leadership, worship, styles of dress, and logistical support through active participation by NBC leaders, lively musical praise, colorful attire, and the provision of meals, transportation and accommodation.

New Leadership

One of the more signifi cant events at the Lagos meeting was the election of Isaac Durosinjesu Ayanrinola as AABF general secretary. Ayanrinola has served the NBC in various capacities since 2003, and at the time of Praise his AABF appointment, was serving as director of the Missionary Organization Department of that body. He succeeds Harrison Olan’g, vice chancellor of Mount Meru University in Tanzania, who was elected in 2007 to serve as acting general secretary following the death of AABF General Secretary Frank Adams of Ghana. Ayanrinola holds bach- elor’s degrees from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso and the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Missiology degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky in the US.

In his response following his election, Ayanrinola said his objectives for the AABF are the fostering of unity, the mobilizing of resources, net- working for effective com- munication, and connecting

Above left: Rachel Lateju, executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union in Nigeria, speaks during the AABF Assembly

Above right: Newly installed AABF General Secretary Isaac Ayanrinola

Below left: BWA General Secretary Neville Callam and outgoing AABF President Paul Msiza presiding at the installation of Isaac Ayanrinola as the new AABF general secretary

Below: Left to right, Dulcie and Neville Callam; Nigerian Baptist Convention General Secretary Samson Ayokunle and wife, Oluwatoyin; and Comfort Enyioha and her husband, B. Uche Enyioha, president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention

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