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Baptists emphasize unity, evangelism at Minnesota-Wisconsin state meeting

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (BP)–Messengers to the 17th annual Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention emphasized cooperation through unity as they elected convention officers without opposition and unanimously passed three resolutions, including one affirming the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on homosexuality.

Under the banner of “Twenty-First Century Missions Thrust,” 105 messengers and 63 guests and visitors gathered Nov. 9-11 at St. Cloud’s Kelly Inn Best Western for the convention’s annual meeting.

George Ray, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn., was elected to a second term as convention president by acclamation. Charles Dunning, a layman from Valley Baptist Church, Appleton, Wis., was elected first vice president without opposition, as was Dan Yoder, pastor of Grand Rapids Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Minn., as second vice president. Lee Henschel, a member of Island Park Baptist Church in LaCross, Wis., was elected recording secretary.

In other elections, David Lowrie, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Milwaukee, was selected to present the annual sermon at the 2001 meeting and Arnie Gulbrandsen, pastor of Parkside Baptist Church in Kenosha, Wis., was selected as an alternate.

Convention messengers promptly took care of business with the unanimous adoption of the 2001 budget of $2,152,237, an increase of $365,806 from this year’s budget. Executive Director William Tinsley said the budget reflects several increases, including a 3 percent across-the-board staff salary increase.

The budget includes anticipated Cooperative Program giving from the convention’s 138 churches of $130,773, of which 26 percent will continue to be devoted to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.

Stan McFall, pastor of Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn., and chairman of the resolutions committee, presented the convention with three resolutions — all of which were passed without hesitancy.

The resolution concerning the Boy Scouts of America affirmed their decision to stand up against allowing homosexual leaders. “We encourage the churches of Minnesota and Wisconsin to stand by the Boy Scouts of America during this time,” McFall said. “We encourage you to offer churches, volunteer in leadership roles, and offer financial support to help sustain this excellent program.”

The second resolution addressed the need for local support for women facing unwanted pregnancies. Because the convention does not have an organization to support the pro-life movement, McFall said churches should be encouraged to support local organizations helping women who are choosing life over abortion.

The third resolution expressed gratitude to the host churches in the St. Cloud and New Heart area.

Tinsley said the 2000 convention was one of good spirit.

“Every time we come together, I am deeply moved by the commitment and heartfelt love Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists demonstrate toward missions,” Tinsley said following the convention. “The testimonies of our volunteers, our church planters and our Minnesota-Wisconsin missionaries who serve around the world were the highlight of our annual meeting in St. Cloud.”

Guest speakers at the convention included David Bird, pastor of Trinity Valley Church in Carrollton, Texas; Jack Johnson of the North American Mission Board; Michael Sims of the Annuity Board; August Boto of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee; Wanda Lee of Woman’s Missionary Union; Terry Willis of the International Mission Board; Charles Wade, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; and Scotty Gray of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

McFall presented the convention’s annual sermon.

The 2001 annual meeting will be Nov. 8-10 at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wis.

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  • Carol Shrader