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Ark. Baptist budget holds steady

JONESBORO, Ark. (BP)–Messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention approved a 2011 Cooperative Program (CP) budget of nearly $21.5 million during their 157th annual meeting, Oct. 26-27 at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

The 2011 CP budget of $21,496,500 was the same amount as the 2010 budget due to the level CP receipts during the past year.

Bob Hall, pastor of First Baptist Church in Beebe who was completing his second term as ABSC Executive Board president, noted it was a flat budget with no increases for Executive Board programs or entities, yet still continues an increase to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) causes.

It includes $9,151,060 (42.57 percent) for SBC causes and $12,345,440 (57.43 percent) for missions and ministries within Arkansas. The SBC portion was an increase of 42,993 (.2 percent) above this year’s SBC allotment. The increase for SBC causes is the fourth consecutive increase in a five-year plan to increase the SBC portion by 1 percent.

Messengers re-elected Clay Hallmark as ABSC president, in the first annual meeting held in northeast Arkansas since 1941 in Jonesboro. This year’s sessions drew 761 registered messengers, just a few shy of last year’s count.

Hallmark, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion, was elected unopposed to a traditional second term as ABSC president. Gene Tanner, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oppelo, nominated Hallmark, noting the Marion church has had 1,200 additions since Hallmark became pastor in May 2001.

Two candidates were nominated for first vice president: Hall and Kim Bridges, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marmaduke. Bridges was elected on a 155-118 ballot vote. For second vice president, Glen Putman, pastor of Walnut Street Baptist Church in Jonesboro, was elected in a ballot vote over Ray Dean Davis, Tri-County Baptist Association missionary, 180-150.

The only miscellaneous business to surface from the convention floor was a motion to dedicate the 2010 convention annual to A.H. “Buck” Rusher, a doctor in Jonesboro who did multiple medical missions journeys in several countries, including a long-term jaunt as a surgeon evangelist in Mongolia. Rusher died of cancer during the past year. Archie Mason, pastor of the host church, made the motion, which drew no discussion and was a unanimous vote.

Resolutions addressed “penetrating the lostness of Arkansas,” expressed gratitude and prayer support for America’s armed forces, urged Christian citizenship and expressed appreciation for convention leaders, the host church and all involved in planning and arrangements for the meeting.

The convention’s nominating committee report was approved with no challenges and no discussion. The committee nominates people to serve on the boards of ABSC entities and institutions.

The 2011 annual meeting will be Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church in Little Rock.
Charlie Warren is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.

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