FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology in women’s studies and first lady at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was part of a selection committee that recently chose the location of the fifth World Congress of Families. Meeting in Washington, D.C., the 16-member selection committee set the next gathering of the congress to be in Amsterdam on Aug. 10-12, 2009.

“The World Congress of Families is the only organization successfully addressing the importance of the natural family in an international setting,” Mrs. Patterson said after returning from the meeting. Both she and President Paige Patterson have been involved with the congress over the past several years. President Patterson presented a message, titled Messages of Hope: The Phenomenon of Spiritual Renewal and Dynamics of Transformation, during the fourth meeting of the WCF last May. His message is posted on

“In a day when the traditional family is under attack from multiple sources of a world view of materialism, I remain especially thankful for the World Congress of Families,” President Patterson said recently. “Southwestern Seminary is a Baptist school and, as most would expect, not inclined toward ecumenical compromises. But the World Congress of Families marks the confluence of people from around the world who recognize that a home with Dad, Mom, and the children and the larger family composed of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. is the essential building block of any lasting social order and the foundation for liberty of conscience and the establishment of a peaceful world.  Mrs. Patterson and I continue to lend our enthusiastic support to the general aims of this crucial initiative.”

Both President and Mrs. Patterson noted the special significance of the family for church and society: “We would have no stable homes without the natural family ties and protections of those ties,” Mrs. Patterson said. “We would have no churches without the families that undergird their work; we would have no communities without the backbone of families that serve their needs; and we will have no future generations without willing wombs and nurturing care of offspring.”

While meeting with the selection committee, Mrs. Patterson was encouraged to see “the breadth of support for the natural family.” Nations from across the globe sent delegations to the meeting in order to place bids to host the fifth congress: Bolivia, Latvia, Russia, the Netherlands and Nigeria. “All were well prepared; all showed grass roots support for the family movement; all demonstrated heart commitment to protect the family,” Mrs. Patterson commented. She also noted that the management committee made a wise effort to foster the relationship with the nations that were not chosen this year. Each of these nations was invited to place bids to host the sixth meeting of the WCF.

“We have a saying here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Mrs. Patterson said, “because of the 40,000 graduates we have scattered throughout the world: ‘The sun never sets on Southwestern.’ I pray that the sun will never set on the World Congress of Families!”

The selection committee included representatives from other international organizations: Ignacio Arsuaga (, Spain), Chuck Donovan (Family Research Council), Don Feder (World Congress of Families), Farooq Hassan (Pakistan Family Forum), Jesus Hernandez (The Family Network, Mexico), Marie-Claire Hernandez (Family & Society, Mexico), Randy Hicks (Georgia Family Council), Robert Knight (Culture and Media Institute, Media Research Center), Ewa Kowalewska (Human Life International,  Europe), Gwendolyn Landolt (REAL Women of Canada), Yuri Mantilla (Focus on the Family), Austin Ruse (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), Mary Ellen Smoot, Jennifer Swim (GFC Foundation) and Father Jaroslaw Szymczak (Institute of Family Studies, Poland). The meeting was chaired by Gwen Landolt (Real Women of Canada).