On the first international trip as President of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), Dr Tomás Mackey visited Germany. Through a partnership with the Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was a theology professor for several years, Mackey was invited to a church in Munich to teach young people from Latin America.
His first destination in Germany was the Berlin-Brandenburg region. After meetings at the German Baptist Union (BEFG) in Elstal, Mackey preached in the Baptist church in Berlin-Schöneberg.
“BWA is the Baptist family with 49 million members around the world”, Mackey said to the congregation. “Our aim is to come together and strengthen our networks. I want to see us respecting our differences as we shape our unity.”
Christoph Stiba, General Secretary of BEFG, underlined the impact of BWA, “After the disastrous floods in Germany we received words and signs of solidarity and prayers from around the world. The visit by BWA General Secretary, Elijah Brown, was a strong message. It is wonderful to have such a worldwide fellowship!”
In the sermon entitled, “Because God loves us, we are transformed”, Mackey spoke about the love of God as the key to this unity. From the Bible passages in 1 John 4:10-11 and John 13:34-35, Mackey demonstrated the importance of the love of God. “There is no better and firmer truth and no stronger power in the lives of human beings.” This love of God, accompanied by justice and reconciliation, can be shown to the world through the ministry of Christians. “God gives us joy and a vision. He unites us into a fellowship that can unite the world.” It is the purpose of the church to share God’s love: “This love sends out a message of hope.”
On Saturday (25th of September), Mackey and his wife, Phoebe, visited the Baptist office in Elstal, Germany, accompanied by Pastor José Malnis and his son, Benjamin, from the Latino Baptist Church (Iglesia Latina de Munich) in Munich that had invited him to Germany. Together with the Rector of the Theological Seminary of Elstal, Michael Kisskalt, and Thomas Klammt from Elstal Training Institute, Mackey discussed questions of theological training and possible cooperation between the Theological Seminaries in Buenos Aires and Elstal. Mackey shared his conviction. “In theological training we can learn a lot from each other and should have more exchange of ideas and persons.” Concurrently, he emphasised the responsibility of theological training towards society as a whole. “As Christians we are challenged to raise our voices in an increasingly secularised world. We must not restrict ourselves to church activities, but let the Gospel be seen and heard in our world. We cannot be Christians on Sundays only, but through Christ, we become better entrepreneurs, teachers, parents.”
After their visit to Elstal and Berlin, Mackey and his wife travelled to Munich to give a week of lectures to young people from Latin America who are involved in pastoral ministry. Participants can acquire an accredited certificate through the partnership with the Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires, which prepares them for intercultural ministry in Germany.
Dr Michael Gruber, BEFG Head of Communications — 27 September 2021
Translated by Thomas Klammt
Edited by Tim SolWoong Kim