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Ariz. Baptists celebrate convention’s 75th year

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (BP)–While celebrating their 75th anniversary as a state convention, Arizona Southern Baptists looked to the future during their Nov. 11-12 annual meeting at Flagstaff’s Little America Hotel.

Historical vignettes in each session reminded the 339 messengers and 47 registered visitors of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention’s past, while this year’s theme, “EKG: The Beat Goes On,” challenged them to look to the years ahead.

Messengers dispensed with business quickly, without using a single ballot and re-electing all three officers by acclamation.

Elected to second one-year terms were John Elder, pastor of Green Valley Baptist Church in Green Valley, as president; Dan Coker, pastor of Love Baptist Church in Phoenix, first vice president; and Charles Tyson, pastor of Immanuel Southern Baptist Church in Yuma, second vice president. Constitutional changes in 2003 allowed for this to be the first year the first and second vice presidents could be elected to second terms.

Messengers adopted a $3,296,750 Cooperative Program budget and a $4,085,934 state convention operating budget for 2004.

The 2004 Cooperative Program basic budget, a 1.09 percent increase over the present budget, continues the 2002 state-national distribution formula, with 75 percent being allocated for Arizona ministries and 25 percent for Southern Baptist Convention national and international causes. The budget includes a 7.7 percent allocation for the Arizona Regional Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

Income sources in the ASBC operating budget include $1,548,096 from the North American Mission Board; $48,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources; $478,950 from conference fees; and $52,515 in other revenue.

After hearing a report that six new LifeWay Christian Stores were opened last year, all in cities smaller than Phoenix, messengers adopted a resolution supporting efforts to locate a LifeWay Christian Store in metropolitan Phoenix. The convention’s executive director, Steve Bass, will communicate this support to the LifeWay board of trustees, President James T. Draper Jr. and other appropriate LifeWay leadership.

Four other resolutions pledged support for military personnel and their families and promised prayer for the nation and its leaders; encouraged continued focus on evangelism; acknowledged the service of a number of state convention, association and church leaders who died in the past year; and expressed appreciation to the Flagstaff churches that helped prepare for the annual meeting and committed to pray for the churches in northern Arizona.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 9-10 at First Southern Baptist Church in Scottsdale.

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  • Elizabeth Young