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Brazilís Nilson Fanini, former BWA president, dies at 77comment (0)

October 1, 2009

Nilson do Amaral Fanini, president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) from 1995 until 2000, died Sept. 19 in Dallas. He was 77 years old. Fanini, of Brazil, who was hospitalized with pneumonia a few days after arriving in the United States to visit family, suffered a massive stroke Sept. 16 and slipped into a coma.

Prior to his election as the second BWA president from Latin America, Fanini served as a BWA vice president, among other roles.

Fanini was a 14-time president of the Brazilian Baptist Convention, founded the Baptist Theological Seminary of Niterói in Brazil in 1984, founded a project to print and distribute 25 million Bibles in Brazil and founded and hosted a weekly evangelical television program. He also founded Reencontro, a social service organization that included an orphanage, a day-care center, 19 medical clinics, mobile ambulances for low-income pregnant women, a bakery for needy children and a two-year vocational college.

The Brazilian Baptist leader served three churches as pastor in 54 years of ministry, including First Baptist Church of Niterói, close to Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil, which grew from 740 to approximately 7,000 members from 1964 to 2005. He founded Memorial Baptist Church in Niterói in 2005.

He received theological degrees from South Brazil Baptist Theological Seminary in Rio de Janeiro and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and studied law at Fluminense Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Fanini leaves Helga, his wife of 53 years; sons Otto and Roberto; and daughter Margareth. (BWA)

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