World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Update
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

18 May 1999


The Baptist Union of Great Britain has appointed Myra Blyth (42), director of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Cluster on Relations, as its first female deputy general secretary. Myra Blyth was endorsed by delegates at the Union's Annual General Meeting in Bournemouth, England, on Wednesday, 28 April. Although the Baptist Union of Great Britain has recognised the ministry of women for many years, it is the first time a woman has been appointed to serve the Union in such a senior staff position.

Myra Blyth will leave the WCC by the end of this year to take up her new position.

WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, congratulated Myra Blyth on her election: "It is the first time that a woman has been elected to this position - a clear recognition of her extraordinary leadership abilities. For the WCC and for me personally, her departure is a cause of sincere regret. Her vision and her commitment have left deep marks in the life of the WCC in this period of transition. We shall miss her. But her colleagues and friends look forward to seeing her bringing fresh impulses to the life of her own church and to ecumenical cooperation in the UK."

Following training for Baptist ministry at Regent's Park College in Oxford, Myra Blyth was a minister at Sutton Baptist Church in Surrey between 1978 and 1982. In 1982 she was appointed executive youth secretary with the British Council of Churches. She joined the WCC in April 1988 as secretary for Europe in the department of Inter-Church Aid, Refugee and World Service (CICARWS). In March 1993 Myra Blyth was appointed executive director of Unit IV - Sharing and Service. She currently holds the position of the executive director for Relations in the WCC's new structure.

Welcoming Myra Blyth's appointment, Rev. David Coffey, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: "I have known Myra for twenty years, since we worked together as ministers in the same London borough. It is a privilege to have yet another gifted colleague to serve with as deputy general secretary. She has been described as a Baptist gift to the church beyond the Baptist community. Her work at the WCC has demonstrated her capability as an organiser and motivator with sensitive, pastoral understanding. She will play a vital role among the family of Baptist churches, rooting our radical vision for mission by encouraging us to worship, work and serve together."

For more information contact:
Karin Achtelstetter, Media Relations Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
Top of page

1999 press updates

WCC homepage

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.