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At 50th year, Dakota Baptists vote for convention status

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (BP)–Dakota Baptists celebrated their 50th anniversary in Southern Baptist life by unanimously approving a move to state convention status and a name change from the Dakota Southern Baptist Fellowship to the Dakota Baptist Convention.

The change to state convention status, which will provide Dakota representation on various SBC entities, will become effective Jan. 1, according to action taken by the 80 messengers present for the Oct. 23-24 annual meeting with the theme of “Dakotas: Ripe for the Harvest” at the Ramkota Motel in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Southern Baptist work in the Dakotas began 50 years ago with two churches in North Dakota, First Baptist in Dickinson and First Baptist in Williston.

The fellowship’s executive board, on the Friday after the convention, elected Jim Hamilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sellersburg, Ind., as their new executive director.

Messengers elected without opposition Wayne McMillian, pastor of Prairie Lakes Baptist Church in Watertown, S.D., as president; Vel Hightower, pastor of the Gift of Hope Baptist Mission in Belcourt, N.D., vice president; and Kathy Osborn of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Grand Forks, N.D., as recording secretary.

A budget of $1,222,401 was approved for the coming year, up 6.37 percent over the current year. The fellowship will continue to forward 14 percent of Cooperative Program receipts from Dakota churches to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 21-22 at Minot, N.D.

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