Human rights specialist nominated for BWA general secretary
Elijah Brown, originally from Texas, has been nominated to be the next general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA)
If elected he will replace Neville Callam, a Jamaican, who retires from that position in December after more than 10 years of service.
Dr Brown was formally approved by the BWA Executive Committee in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, 4 July. His name will be presented to the General Council on Friday (7 July) for a final vote.
Dr Brown's specialty lies in human rights and religious liberty, according to a statement from the BWA. His dissertation focused on issues related to world Christianity, including mission and church growth, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and the interaction of religion and politics. He helped to launch the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Christian human rights organisation, and became its executive vice president.
He has conducted research on, led training events in and done human rights advocacy work in South Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Iraq, Nepal and other countries. He has submitted reports to the United Nations and the US Department of State, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and several foundations and groups.
Dr Brown, 36, has had a decade of involvement in the international umbrella organisation for Baptists, starting in 2007 when he was named one of 35 global emerging leaders by the BWA. He is currently BWA regional secretary for North America and general secretary for the North American Baptist Fellowship.
He is a member of the BWA General Council; the Constitution and Bylaws Committee; the Nominations Committee; the Congress Committee; and the Mission, Evangelism and Justice Advisory Committee. He is vice chair of the BWA Commission on Religious Liberty and is a member of the Commission on Theological Education.
Dr Brown serves substantively as executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, which has offices in Falls Church, Virginia, in the US. Prior to that, he was associate professor of Religion at East Texas Baptist University, where he was founding director of the Freedom Center.
He earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas with a double major in religion and history and a Ph.D. in Divinity with a focus on World Christianity from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Dr Brown is married to Amy and is father to Hudson, Sahara and Keziah.
Writing on Facebook, Tony Peck, general secretary of the European Baptist Federation, spoke of his 'delight' at the nomination, adding: 'Elijah has been a good friend for some years, and over the past year a colleague as BWA North American Regional Secretary.
'He is a passionate about the Gospel and mission, and a staunch defender of human rights and especially religious freedom.
'Welcome, Elijah, from the EBF and be assured of our support and prayers for you as you will begin this work on January 1.'