21Wilberforce Launches Global Freedom Network Pilot Project

21Wilberforce announced the launch of the Global Freedom Network (GFN) pilot project in Africa during the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) meeting in Norway last month. 21Wilberforce’s President Randel Everett and Executive Director John Gongwer gave an overview of the vision, objectives and intended outcomes for the network including plans for eventual expansion to other regions of the world. Key leaders from the Baptist World Alliance, including BWA President Tomás Mackey, BWA General-Secretary Elijah Brown, and All Africa Baptist Fellowship General Secretary Elias Apetogbo also spoke of the urgent need for this response network to address the ongoing religious freedom challenges in Africa.

Africa, like many regions, is a hotbed of religious tension and intolerance leading to violence, killings and displacement of communities. The GFN is a fresh opportunity to address these challenges. Africa Ambassador and Lead, GFN Project Africa, Dr. Dawari George, outlined key plans for the project that will work with regional and national teams throughout Africa to coordinate collaborative information sharing, support impact-focused decision making, and help mitigate religious freedom threats faced by Baptists and other groups. Read more about the GFN here.


Sir Malcom Evans addressed the Religious Freedom and Human Rights, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Commissions during the BWA 2023 meeting in Norway.

The Religious Freedom Commission of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is chaired by 21Wilberforce Ambassador for Latin America, André Simão. The Commission hosted three meetings during the BWA’s annual gathering held last month in Norway. The first meeting focused on the work for freedom of religion or belief that is being done by Baptists leaders in the European Baptist Federation and on the deteriorating situation of religious freedom in India.

The Commission also hosted a lecture by Sir Malcom Evans, Principal of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, where he outlined practical steps that human rights advocates can take with various international mechanisms and bodies to make realistic and effective change in the situation of those facing the denial of their basic rights. Read more and watch video here.

21Wilberforce Fellows Convene in Norway


The 21Wilberforce Fellows first met in person at the BWA Annual Gathering in Birmingham, Alabama in July of 2022. Since that time, the fellows have worked together virtually on a project to map the opportunities and challenges for religious freedom in their regions. This research will equip them with a deep knowledge of religious freedom so they can be more effective leaders on the issue. The Fellows presented their research to other Baptist leaders last month at the BWA Annual Gathering in Norway.

Sessions for the Timothy Fellows included: “Global Freedom Network Religious Freedom Reporting” led by 21Wilberforce’s Randel Everett, John Gongwer and Trent Martin and “Foundations of International Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Advocacy” by Ed Brown and Elisa Chavez of the Stefanus Alliance. Other general sessions they attended included briefings on Myanmar and Manipur, India and the Global Freedom Network launch event. Read more here.

Reflections on the Afghans’ Resettlement by Brazilian Baptists

21Wilberforce Senior Fellow André Simão shared about the Afghan’s resettlement by the Brazilian Baptists in a Baptist Forum on Aid and Development at the Baptist World Alliance annual gathering in Norway last month.

This story started in the Baptist World Alliance congress held July 2021 through a prayer request at the Religious Freedom pre-conference hosted by 21Wilberforce. By Aug 21st we were connected to the Afghan Evacuation Coordination Task Force Team.

[ repost@ibitacuruca] The Itacuruçá Baptist Church in Tijuca/RJ received an Afghan family in Oct. 2022 in a situation of refuge. This is the second phase of the Vila Minha Pátria project.

I could talk about numbers, +700 who have been assisted so far, 35 missionaries, hundreds we’re trying to help waiting abroad in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to come to Brazil, how we engaged with authorities, the all-encompassing assistance Brazilian Baptists are providing, Afghans speaking Portuguese, the high costs, what we’re doing, the documentary movie “For Me”… but I choose instead to share about what we’re seeing, some missional perceptions I have observed during the past two years. Read more here.



Lahore, 22 July – Anwar Kenneth, a Christian man who has been on death row for over 22 years, has filed a final appeal against his death sentence in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. This appeal comes as a desperate bid to overturn the original conviction, which was based on charges of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Read more here.


Jubilee Campaign welcomes the news of the release of Hamid Soudad, Christian exMuslim and member of the Evangelical protestant church of Algeria (EPA) on July 20th 2023. The release comes following a presidential decree commuting the five-year sentence against Hamid Soudad for Algeria’s Independence Day. Read more here.