WASILLA, Alaska (BP)–Alaska Southern Baptists approved a 3 percent budget increase and marked a transition in their state convention’s executive leadership during a two-day annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Wasilla.
Under a theme of “God’s Plan for Sharing: Shining God’s Light on the Nations in Alaska,” 174 messengers representing 49 congregations approved a Cooperative Program budget of $2.1 million, $772,855 of which is expected to come from the Alaska convention’s 100 congregations.
The budget anticipates 3 percent of its revenue will be provided by LifeWay Christian Resources, 59 percent from North American Mission Board — a 2 percent increase over the 2010 budget — and 2 percent from other sources.
The Sept. 28-29 gathering — the convention’s 65th annual meeting — was preceded by a Monday evening missions rally with the theme “Are You Smarter than a Missionary?” The annual pastor’s conference on the morning of Sept. 28, held at Fairview Loop Baptist Church, promoted the theme “Shining God’s Light.” The annual Woman’s Missionary Union meeting, also held the morning of the 28th, at First Baptist Church in Wasilla, explored the theme “Unhindered,” based on Hebrews 12:1-2.
“The convention was marked by celebrations, gratitude and congratulations,” reported David Baldwin, executive director of the convention. “For the third year in a row, the 100 churches that make up the Alaska Baptist Convention celebrated giving more than $1 million dollars to missions through the Cooperative Program, the North American mission offering, the international mission offering and the state missions offering.”
Wayland Baptist University’s Alaska Centers celebrated their 25th anniversary in Alaska during the meeting. Representatives from the Wayland centers in Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks celebrated the occasion by providing a dinner meal for all in attendance on the closing night of the convention.
Messengers also expressed gratitude to Baldwin, who is retiring after 10 years of service in his role and more than 29 years of service to Alaska Baptists. Baldwin and his wife Nancy served 20 years as appointed missionaries in Fairbanks and Alaska’s interior areas before joining the Alaska Baptist Convention staff. The Baldwins will continue living in Alaska.
Messengers also welcomed Mike Procter as the new executive director/treasurer for the convention and the Alaska Baptist Foundation, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Procter, formerly the convention’s director of missions and men’s ministries, and his wife Rebecca have served in Alaska for 24 years.
Elected as officers for the coming year were: president, Charles Worthy of First Baptist Church in Willow; first vice president, Tom Hoffman of Fairview Loop Baptist Church in Wasilla; second vice president, Gary Loeffler of Hillside Baptist Church in Anchorage; recording secretary, Shirley Bearce of CrossCountry Church in Wasilla. The pastor’s conference president will be Jeff Baxter of Moose Creek Baptist Church in North Pole. Ruby Stogsdill of First Baptist Church in Soldotna was elected president of the state’s Woman’s Missionary Union.
The 2011 annual meeting will be Sept. 27-28 at First Baptist Church in North Pole.
Reported by Alaska Baptist Convention staff.