Greetings in the name of Christ crucified and risen! Whether you start this week (West) or next week (East) this is a Holy Week and Easter-time like no other we have ever known.
We proclaim with hope the message of the crucified and risen Christ in the midst of a pandemic that is affecting almost all parts of the world, and certainly every country of our EBF region. Western Europe is the worst affected at the moment with many thousands who have died, but in other countries the curve of cases and deaths is rising.
We have held five online meetings with our member Union leaders in different geographical groups. It has been great to be able to meet in this way, and we have shared positive stories of what God is doing even at this challenging time. These include increased online attendance at our online worship services to individual acts of love and compassion to those who are suffering as a result of Covid-19.
We have also shared prayer requests, and here many leaders have been concerned about the practical, psychological, and spiritual effects of this crisis. Economically, many have lost their jobs and may not have immediate government support, even if that is available to them.
Future regional meetings
As requested by those leaders who joined us, we would like to repeat these meetings in a few week’s time as follows:
Nordic-Baltic Region: Monday April 27, 12:00 CEST
Western Europe Region: Wednesday April 28, 12:00 CEST
Middle East Region: Friday May 1, 12:00 CEST
Central Europe and Balkan Regions: Tuesday May 5, 12:00 CEST
Euro-Asiatic Region Thursday May 7, 12:00 CEST
Please invite any others from your Union who would like to join us. And note the Central European Summer Time! We will send reminders out the day before.
Pray for each other
The EBF stands in solidarity with all our Unions and member churches at this time. First of all, it is so important to pray for one another at this time, maybe using the EBF prayer Guide that appears on our social media and website each week. And especially we want to remember our local pastors and churches seeking to support their members, to have to reach out remotely to those who are grieving over the loss of loved ones, and to to demonstrate what it means to love our neighbour in need. Some church members are health workers on the front line of this crisis, and we learned this week that a Baptist in Slovakia is the new Health Minister there.
Where there are identified practical needs, please let us know. The Baptist World Alliance is immediately making available up to USD1000 to help any BWA member Union reaching out to help people affected by this. The EBF too, has some limited ability to help, and we have a network of partners who also may be able to respond. We are also part of a global response being co-ordinated by the BWA.
Share your initiatives
This is a time for us to encourage and help one another. If you have good initiatives that are working well at this time and would like to share them with other Unions please contact our EBF Communications Director, Tim Kim (email@example.com). He will be happy to contact you to find out more, and then share it more widely via our website and social media.
Finally, this is a challenging and sometimes lonely time for all of us in leadership. If any Union leader would like a chat or someone to pray with at this time, then please contact one of us and we will be glad to meet you online:
Meego Remmel, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Gisiger, Vice-President, email@example.com
Tony Peck, General Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Helle Liht, Associate Gen Sec, email@example.com
Follow this link to watch the video message for Holy Week from our General Secretary.
Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
May the resurrection message of hope resound in our hearts!
Grace and Peace
Tony Peck & Helle Liht
EBF General Secretaries
Photo by Helle Liht. Risen Christ, Maria Frieden Church in Dübendorf, Switzerland