Baptist Briefs: Joint commissioning service

Roger Wall, left, embraces Dante and Schenita Randolph during a time of prayer for the 95 International Mission Board and North American Mission Board missionaries commissioned during a Woman's Missionary Union Celebration June 8 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Wall, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Pageland, S.C., served in Durham, N.C., where the Randolphs serve as missionaries at Grace Park Church. (BP Photo by Bill Bangham)

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The International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board commissioned 96 Southern Baptist missionaries during a rare joint commissioning service sponsored by the Woman’s Missionary Union at the Baltimore Convention Center. The last joint commissioning service between IMB and NAMB is believed to have been conducted 25 years ago, said Wanda Lee, WMU’s executive director/treasurer, who organized the event as a prelude to the WMU annual meeting and missions celebration. The event marked the culmination of a yearlong celebration of WMU’s 125th anniversary.

Lottie Moon Offering sets record. Southern Baptists gave an unprecedented $154 million to the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, breaking the record for the largest total in the offering’s 125-year history. The 2013 offering, finalized June 5, reached $154,057,852.36. The total represents an increase of nearly $4.8 million over 2012, or 3.2 percent. Although it fell short of the $175 million goal, it topped the previous record, $150.4 million in 2007, by more than $3.6 million, and marked the fourth increase since 2008.

GuideStone sets new enrollment guidelines. GuideStone Financial Resources has new guidelines for enrollment in its medical Personal Plans, effective July 1. Churches and ministries eligible to offer GuideStone’s medical Personal Plans will be able to add new employees and their families to the Personal Plans within 60 days of employment. Church employees who began their employment between Jan. 1 and July 1 may enroll themselves and eligible family members through Aug. 1, 2014.

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