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Ark. Baptists to partner in Sao Paulo; conservative is president by 7 votes

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP)–Joining hands in a mission partnership with Sao Paulo, Brazil, approving a budget topping $18 million for the first time and electing a conservative president by a slim margin were the highlights of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Nov. 9-10 annual meeting at First Baptist Church, Springdale.
The almost 1,300 messengers voted unanimously for a three-year partnership with Sao Paulo, a Brazilian state of 36 million people, which includes the city of Sao Paulo with more than 17 million people. After three years, the partnership can be extended for another three years.
In the race for president, Ben Rowell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Rogers, won by seven votes over Rodney Reeves, pastor of Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro. The count was 534 to 527.
Elected in ballots also with two nominees were Bill Bowen, pastor of First Baptist Church, Mena, first vice president, and Mike Seabaugh, pastor of First Baptist Church, Camden, second vice president.
Messengers approved a 2000 budget of $18,125,050, which includes more than $10.5 million (58.23 percent) for state ministries and missions and more than $7.5 million (41.77 percent) for Southern Baptist Convention causes. The current year’s budget was just over $17.68 million.
Two non-controversial resolutions were passed. One resolved to “love others outside of the Kingdom like God loved us” and to “love each other,” while the other expressed appreciation for the host church, the officers, the convention staff and the program committee.
Messengers also celebrated Arkansas Baptist volunteers who have served in volunteer mission efforts within the state and in partnerships with Iowa, Europe and in other international projects.
Next year’s meeting will be Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock.

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  • Charlie Warren