The BWA Executive Committee considered the offer at its meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in early March, and decided “to proceed with feasibility conversations with the Jordan Government.”
An agreement was reached between Coffey, who visited the site on May 26, and Jordan’s Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed, chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the baptismal site, that the location will be used for the construction of a Baptism Center to be dedicated and opened in the spring of 2009.
A large plaque is to be placed at the entrance to the center with the inscription: “The Commission of the Site of the Baptism of Jesus Christ welcomes here in particular foreign visiting pilgrims from the member churches of the Baptist World Alliance.”
“I know that many Baptist and other Evangelical Christians will visit the site as pilgrims and some will choose to confess their faith in Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism,” Coffey said.
Nabil Costa, Middle East representative for the European Baptist Federation, one of six continental unions of the BWA, said, “This is an act of appreciation for Christian presence in the region.”
Costa, who is executive director for the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, declared that “Baptists of the Middle East are grateful for His Majesty’s invaluable gesture, and we welcome worldwide Baptist pilgrims to come and experience Middle Eastern hospitality!”
The Baptism Center will be located on the bank of the River Jordan and will take its place alongside other church buildings being constructed on the site.
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