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10/20/97 CBF council votes ’emergency’ relief for Richmond seminary

ATLANTA (BP)–The Coordinating Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship voted to grant an advance of $50,000 to the CBF-affiliated Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., and heard that last year CBF spent more than $500,000 over receipts.
The 80-member governing board of the six-year-old moderate Baptist group, formed in protest of Southern Baptist Convention leadership, also approved a one-year extension of employment for R. Keith Parks. Parks, the global missions coordinator, is 70, requiring employment on a year- to-year basis per CBF’s personnel manual.
In addition, the council approved a replacement for Molly Marshall who resigned from the council. Marshall, a professor at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Kan., reportedly has heavily invested her time in raising funds for the CBF-affiliated seminary. Dixie Petry, Knoxville, Tenn., will fill the one-year unexpired term. As the result of the recent death of Eddie Freeman, council member from Virginia, Clint Hopkins, a Chesapeake, Va., pastor was named to replace Freeman at the recommendation of the Virginia CBF delegation.
The financial figures for the 1996-97 CBF fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, revealed the group spent about $14 million while receipts provided $12.8 million and special reserve earnings and other sources provided another $700,000. The $500,000 shortfall was charged against CBF reserves.
Council members heard CBF gifts through the first quarter of 1997-98 were above the same period a year ago about 7 percent, but projected for the year would not be enough to meet this year’s $14.3 million budget. The 1996-97 Global Mission Offering, which is included in the CBF budget, received $3.95 million, short of the projected $4.2 million.
The request for an “emergency relief advance” from the Richmond seminary was a result of budget cuts in the middle of the year by the CBF. The “hardship request” also was the result of the “inability of the institution to secure alternate support on short-term notice.” The advance will be taken from the seminary’s budget allocation in the 1998-99 budget. It was reported a similar offer was extended to Central Seminary, which turned it down for the immediate future.
In other action at the Oct. 16-18 meeting, council members approved the creation of a Council on Endorsement. The CE is a follow-up to action taken last summer by the CBF General Assembly which approved endorsing chaplains. Also, the council approved two task group name changes: Multi-Cultural Ministries and Network Ventures from Representation and Relationships and States and Regions, respectively.
Council members also approved a request from Daniel Vestal, CBF coordinator, to provide emphases for the next three years in all of CBF work: spirituality, community and missions.
Also approved was a proposal to identify the metro Atlanta area as the permanent site for the CBF national offices. Presently, the CBF offices are leased from Mercer University in Atlanta through the year 2001. The CBF General Assembly in 1998 will be in Houston.

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  • Herb Hollinger