Seventh Day Baptist World Federation Sessions Scheduled for Malawi

Ending date and time: 2023-09-17 08:00
Starting date and time: 2023-09-23 13:00
Location: Hotel Victoria in Blantyre, Malawi

The next sessions of the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation will be held on September 17-23, 2023 at the Hotel Victoria in Blantyre, Malawi. Registration will be open online on June 1 and further information and details will be available at that time.

The Seventh Day Baptist World Federation Sessions, initially scheduled for 2022 in the United States, had to be postponed, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For some of those same reasons and others, the SDB World Federation Executive Committee has found good reason to change the host country from United States to Malawi.

Dates and Place

Hence, the Executive Committee is announcing that the next Sessions of the SDB World Federation will be held at the Hotel Victoria in Blantyre, Malawi on the continent of Africa, September 17-23, 2023. In the preceding week, September 10-16, the Central Africa Conference will hold its annual meetings. Attendees should fly into Chileka International Airport (BLZ), Blantyre.

Reasons for Change to Malawi

The primary reasons for the shift in host country are as follows:

  1. To obtain a visa appointment for travel to the United States, most countries are showing a wait time of an average of about 100 calendar days. That is more than 3 months, and that is only to get an appointment.
  2. While it is somewhat unpredictable and seemingly arbitrary sometimes, by our estimation, it has become increasingly difficult for citizens from certain countries to obtain visitors’ visas to travel to the United States. Those include African countries and India, especially when the applicant may not have particular professions/careers or are not steadily employed at verifiable places of employment. Currently, there are 19 SDB World Federation member conferences and 8 of them are from Africa.
  3. It is generally easier for citizens of other countries to obtain visas to travel to African countries, and in most cases, citizens of African countries do not require a visa to travel to another African country.

So, although our delegates traveling to Malawi from the other side of the world will have higher airfare costs than if they were traveling to the United States, we believe the overall benefit of having more people from more countries potentially able to travel to the Sessions, outweighs the added financial cost that some will have to assume.

The SDB World Federation Executive Committee is therefore inviting all our member conferences to plan to send a delegation to the Sessions in Malawi in September of this year. We recognize and apologize for the fact that the advance notice time is short, and pray that all of our member conferences can have at least one delegate attending.

Delegates

As has been the case historically, the World Federation is once again blessed to be able to cover all the expenses for one delegate from each member conference, as needed.

Using the formula of 1 delegate for each member conference, plus 1 delegate for every 1,000 members or part thereof, the following is our estimate of each member conference’s delegate allotment:

Australia – 2

Brazil – 6

Burundi - 4

Guyana – 2

India (Andhra Pradesh) – 2

Jamaica – 5

Kenya – 2

Malawi – 16

Netherlands – 2

New Zealand - 2

Nigeria – 2

Philippines - 2

Poland – 2

Rwanda – 4

South Africa - 2

Uganda – 2

United Kingdom - 2

USA & Canada – 7

Zambia - 2

Host Committee

In its almost 60 year history, the World Federation Sessions have never been held on the African continent. So, this will be historic and unprecedented. Malawi has the largest SDB Conference in the world, and they have assembled a very capable Host Committee, led by Dr. Alfred Chanza, Principal Secretary at the Malawi Ministry of Labor and Manpower Development, and former Chief Executive Officer of the Blantyre City Council. The Host Committee is already working to do its part in facilitating an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for all Sessions attendees while in Malawi.

Program

The President of the SDB World Federation, Pastor Luciano Barreto Nogueira de Moura, is putting together an uplifting and visionary program of activities for the week, and will announce his theme shortly.

Travel Expense to Malawi

Each member conference or group is responsible to pay the airfare (plane ticket) for their delegate(s) to Malawi and back home. The World Federation currently provides funding for transportation, food, and accommodation for one delegate for each member conference, in the event that a conference is unable to fund that expense. It is strongly suggested that if a World Federation Vice President is a member of your conference, that person be named among your delegates, and be the recipient of the World Federation’s all-expenses paid initiative, if possible. Observers always pay their own travel and hosting expenses.

Expenses in Malawi

As funds are available, the cost of travel, meals, and housing for one delegate from each member conference while they are in Malawi, September 17-23, will be paid by the World Federation, in the event that a conference is unable to fund that expense. If a member conference is asking the World Federation to pay for the travel expenses of one of its delegates to Malawi as well as the expenses while in Malawi, that conference will need to indicate on its registration form, which delegate should receive such benefit.

Passports, Visas, COVID-19 Tests, and Airplane Tickets

It is the responsibility of the delegates and/or their conference to apply in their own country and pay for the necessary passports and visas. They should also make reservations for airplane tickets from their country to Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre, Malawi. Further, they should obtain and comply with all COVID-19 requirements for travel in their particular situations. At the moment, for all visitors traveling to Malawi, there is a requirement for either a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 test taken not more than 72 hours prior to boarding the first flight of the journey. As soon as we know the names and addresses of each delegate, we will send them an official letter of invitation for use in obtaining the appropriate visa.

Registration

Please send SDBWF 2023 Online Registration by March 31, 2023. It will list the people you hope to send as your delegate(s) and his/her address(es), so that we can correspond directly with them to make the necessary arrangements.

On May 1, 2023, an online registration process will be opened, and individuals will be able to register electronically.

The approximate cost of food and accommodation for the week is US$600.

Giving to the World Federation

Please also be reminded that all member conferences are encouraged to financially support the World Federation as they are able. A recommended starting level is for each conference to give at least 10% of its annual income to the support of the World Federation.

 

We look forward to many Seventh Day Baptists from all parts of the world, making the trip to Malawi, the warm heart of Africa.

 

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