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At 35-year mark, W.Va. Baptists set sights on a strong future

FAIRLEA, W.Va. (BP)—A Friday night slide show of the current facilities of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists’ founding churches and chapels helped spark the convention’s 35th annual meeting attended by 215 messengers and 96 visitors Nov. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Fairlea.

Consistent with the spirit of the Friday night session, the Convention Futuring Group, which had met for more than a year, presented its report during the Friday morning and afternoon sessions. The report, titled “Strong Foundations for a Strong Future,” expressed appreciation for the work of the leaders who preceded the current generation and established future directions that will build on the strong foundations established in 1970.

Messengers approved a total budget of $2,601,574 with anticipated Cooperative Program receipts from churches of $1,279,101. From the Cooperative Program gifts, 37.5 percent, or $479,663, will be forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee for distribution to denominational entities. The 2006 figures are roughly the same as the 2005 budget, and the portion going to the SBC remains unchanged.

C.J. Adkins, pastor of Westmoreland Baptist Church in Huntington, was elected as the new president. Ron McCoy, pastor of Cameron Baptist Church in Cameron, was also nominated. Tim Kearney, a layman from Good Shepherd Baptist in Scott Depot, was elected first vice president with no opposition.

Seth Polk, pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist Church in Cross Lanes, was elected second vice president. Jack Miller, pastor of West Ripley Baptist Church in Ripley, was also nominated. Fred Morgan, a layman from Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, was elected without opposition to serve as recording secretary, and he was the only officer re-elected from the previous slate of leaders.

Messengers unanimously approved three resolutions. The first expressed appreciation for the host church, and the second supported the display of the Ten Commandments in public and private locations including on federal property. A third resolution expressed agreement with biblical teachings related to homosexuality. Christians should separate themselves from “any who accept this perversion as normal” and commit to “seek to lovingly lead those who are involved in homosexuality to a right relationship with Jesus,” the resolution stated.

The theme of the convention was “Empowering Kingdom Growth: Strong Foundations for a Strong Future” and tied the West Virginia work to its national partners while placing appropriate emphasis on the need for significant mission efforts in the Mountain State.

Seven new churches joined the convention this year, and the Book of Reports listed 191 churches with 28,390 total members.

Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., led Bible studies during the convention. In keeping with the theme, his studies focused on three strong foundations for a strong future — the Bible, the Lord and the Gospel.

Executive Director Terry Harper based his report and challenge to messengers on the theme of Joshua 14:6-15, pointing out what Caleb recalled, requested and received.

In his president’s address, Johnny Kelly, pastor of Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg, spoke from Esther 4:12-17 on the theme “For Such a Time As This.” Kelly served the last two years as president and as chairman of the Futuring Group that presented its future directions report at the convention.

In the annual convention sermon, Seth Polk, pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist, brought a message from 2 Kings 18:1-8 titled “Revival Winds Are Blowing.” Sharing conditions for revival to take place — repentance, faith and commitment — Polk also reminded listeners of R.A. Torrey’s prescription for revival. “Let a few Christians get thoroughly right themselves. Then let them bind themselves together in prayer. Finally, let them put themselves at the disposal of God,” he said.

Burke Memorial Baptist in Princeton, W.Va., will host the Nov, 3-4, 2006, meeting.

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  • John W. Adams