Baptist Briefs

Posted: 12/16/05

Baptist Briefs

CBF leader meets with secretary of state. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinator Daniel Vestal and a dozen other religious leaders met in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They called on the United States to lead in global poverty reduction initiatives at a World Trade Organization meeting. The interfaith group challenged Rice to advance proposals that would open global markets to trade and boost economies of developing nations. The religious leaders also lobbied for a $5 billion increase in poverty-focused development assistance in President Bush's 2007 budget request.

First Korean state convention president elected. New England Baptists elected their first non-Anglo president and the first Korean president of a state convention. Messengers to the 23rd annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New England in Londonderry, N.H., elected Paul Kim, founding pastor of Berkland Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., president without opposition. Kim, who was named a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary distinguished alumnus in 2004 for his work in church planting, serves as a trustee of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. Tommy Oliver, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Stratham, N.H., was elected vice president. Messengers unanimously passed a $2.8 million budget for 2006--a 5 percent increase and the first increase in more than five years.

First ordained Southern Baptist woman pastor dies. Addie Elizabeth Davis--whose 1964 ordination by Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., to pastoral ministry marked a first among Southern Baptist churches--died Dec. 3 in Covington, Va., after a brief illness. She was 88. Davis, a graduate of Meredith College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, both in North Carolina, served churches in Vermont, Rhode Island and Virginia. The Baptist Women in Ministry organization provides annual scholarships to female ministerial students through a fund established in Davis' honor.

New Mexico executive director search ends. Joseph Bunce, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, N.M., is the unanimous choice of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico executive director search team to become the state convention's next executive director. Bunce has spent all but four of his 50 years and his 30-year ministry in New Mexico. He was president of the New Mexico convention in 1998 and 1999. A special meeting of the convention will be held Jan. 31 at Hoffmantown Baptist Church in Albuquerque during the state evangelism conference to act on the recommendation. If elected, Bunce will assume his new role Feb. 13.

Oklahoma Baptists approve Armenia partnership. Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's 99th annual meeting approved a missions partnership with Armenia. Oklahoma Baptists ratified a $22.65 million budget for 2006--a 1.8 percent increase over the current year--with 60 percent earmarked for Oklahoma causes and 40 percent for the Southern Baptist Convention. They also learned that about 300 Oklahoma Baptist churches doubled their number of baptisms in the past year. Messengers re-elected President Bob Green, pastor of Arrow Heights Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, and elected First Vice President Randy Childers, director of missions for Rogers Baptist Association, and Second Vice President James Swain, pastor of First Baptist Church in Kingfisher.

Virginia Baptists OK reduced budget. Messengers to the Baptist General Association of Virginia annual meeting approved a $14.4 million budget for 2006--$300,000 less than the current year. Treasurer Eddie Stratton projected a shortfall of up to $500,000 for 2005. Budget Committee Chairman Darrell Foster attributed the shortfall--and resultant reduced budget--to about $2.3 million in designated giving for disaster relief following the South Asia tsunami and Gulf Coast hurricanes. The 2006 budget excludes Averett University in Danville, Va. Virginia Baptists ended allocations to the school last year in a dispute over homosexuality and biblical authority. Virginia Baptists elected without opposition three officers endorsed by the moderate Virginia Baptists Committed organization--President Bert Browning, pastor of Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond, First Vice President Boyce Brannock, an attorney and member of First Baptist Church in Waynesboro, and Second Vice President Barbara Filling, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Charles City.

Illinois Baptists continue search. The committee appointed to find a potential executive director for the Illinois Baptist State Association has narrowed its search to eight candidates, Chairman Jim Rahtjen reported to the Illinois Baptist annual meeting in Springfield. The committee—named to find a successor for Wendell Lang, who left the executive director’s post in April for a Tennessee pastorate—received 47 recommendations for the position, 30 of whom agreed to be considered, Rahtjen said. The committee has interviewed each of the eight finalists, he added.

Michigan Baptists endorse marriage amendment. Messengers to the Baptist State Convention of Michigan’s 48th annual meeting approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Michigan Baptists also approved a $3.4 million budget—a $500,000decrease from the current year, with anticipated Cooperative Program receipts from churches at $1.7 million.

NAMB invites Baltimore to become Strategic Focus City. In a video presentation to the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, North American Mission Board President Bob Reccord invited Baltimore to become a Strategic Focus City. Executive Director David Lee noted Baltimore churches must in turn invite the mission board and state convention to join them in the evangelistic and prayer emphasis. Messengers re-elected their slate of state convention officers and approved a more than $6.6 million budget for 2006.

Six baptized at Penn/Jersey annual meeting. Baptist pastors baptized six people during Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey annual meeting in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Messengers re-elected President Jerry Dixon, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Gettysburg, Pa., and Recording Secretary Melba Beaudreaux of Dallas Baptist Church in Dallas, Pa. They elected First Vice President Jimmy Knox, pastor of Chambersburg Baptist Church in Chambersburg, Pa., and Second Vice President Roger Mano, pastor Philadelphia International Bible Church in Philadelphia. Messengers approved a $3.3 million budget for 2006, a 2.69 percent increase over the current year.

News of religion, faith, missions, Bible study and Christian ministry among Texas Baptist churches, in the BGCT, the Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC ) and around the world.
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