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European Baptists to celebrate Amsterdam 400 next year

English refugees first met in bakery

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

PRAGUE - The world Baptist movement is planning to celebrate its 400th birthday next year. In 1609, the first Baptists, who were refugees from England, met in the backroom of an Amsterdam bakery in order to read the Bible together. They founded the first Baptist-minded congregation. The European Baptist Federation (EBF) plans to celebrate this anniversary from July 24 to 26, 2009 with festivities in Amsterdam’s RAI Congress Centre entitled “Amsterdam 400”. It is anticipated that 1.700 Baptists from throughout Europe will attend.

To keep the fees affordable for Baptists from less-wealthy countries, wealthier Baptist unions are sponsoring the 2009 anniversary event. All 52 EBF-member unions made a commitment at the EBF-Council sessions in Budapest last September to contribute one euro per member towards the $450,000 budget of the conference.

EBF-leaders note that Amsterdam 400 will deal with more than just the past - a “vision for the future” will be one of the conference’s goals.

Baptists have over 100 million adherents, making them the world’s largest Protestant denomination. Europe and the Middle East have approximately 800,000 Baptists. The Dutch Union has 11,500 members who belong to 85 congregations.