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Ark. Baptists to create nonprofit campground agency

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–The first step in granting agency status to the Baptist Assembly at Siloam Springs was approved during the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Nov. 8-9 annual meeting.

Messengers also permitted a special ministry task force an additional year to complete a comprehensive study of Baptist life and bring recommendations to the 2006 annual meeting.

The convention’s 152nd session, attended by 939 messengers at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church of Little Rock, focused on the theme, “Fanning the Fires of Revival,” particularly emphasizing the convention’s plans for “Your Life Matters….” simultaneous revivals in 2006.

Messengers elected Harry Black, associational missionary for the Washington-Madison Baptist Association, as convention president in a ballot with one other nominee, Chuck McAlister, pastor of The Church at Crossgate Center of Hot Springs. McAlister then was elected as first vice president as the sole nominee as was Danny Johnson, associational missionary of the Pulaski Baptist Association, for second vice president.

The Baptist Assembly recommendation came from a study committee, chaired by Tommy Miller, pastor of Union Valley Baptist Church of Beebe, Ark. As a separate agency, the Arkansas Baptist Assembly would incorporate as a 501(c)(3) corporation, freeing assembly staff and trustees to raise additional funding from individual donors and from private and public foundation grants. The agency would be governed by its own board of trustees, elected by the convention.

The encampment is in need of repairs and renovations beyond what the ABSC budget can provide.

The recommendation was presented as an amendment to the ABSC Articles of Incorporation, which requires a two-thirds vote by messengers at two successive annual meetings. The vote was unanimous, and the second vote will occur at the 2006 annual meeting, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2006, at Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock.

In the peaceful, non-controversial meeting, only one motion was presented that did not come from a convention committee. Erby Burgess, pastor and messenger from Park Hill Baptist Church of Arkadelphia, Ark., made a motion to dedicate the 2006 ABSC Book of Reports to Roy Buckalew, longtime speech professor at Ouachita Baptist University, who died Aug. 18.

The $19,762,210 ABSC budget approved by messengers includes $11,507,535 (58.23 percent) for missions and ministries within Arkansas and $8,254,675 (41.77 percent) designated for Southern Baptist Convention causes. The 2006 budget represents no increase over the 2005 budget and retains the same CP allocations.

Arkansas Baptist messengers passed seven resolutions including ones commending disaster relief volunteers, opposing casino and lottery gambling, countering homosexual activism, opposing the sale of beer on college campuses, and supporting the Cooperative Program and the 2006 simultaneous revivals.

The resolution affirming the Cooperative Program praised the report of the SBC’s Task Force on Cooperation and noted that Arkansas Baptists are “equally determined to make the greatest impact possible through the Cooperative Program as evidenced by the fact that the Arkansas Baptist State Convention sends approximately 42 percent of its Cooperative Program receipts on to national and international missions causes.”

The resolution proposes that every Southern Baptist and Arkansas Baptist elected leader and official should promote the Cooperative Program “with vigor and intentionality on a consistent basis” and calls on Arkansas Baptist churches to educate their members to the Kingdom benefits of the Cooperative Program.
Charlie Warren is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News, newsjournal of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, on the Web at www.arkansasbaptist.org.

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  • Charlie Warren