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Calif. special offering to aid fellow Baptists’ relief work

FRESNO, Calif. (BP)–California Southern Baptists are rallying to help sister Baptist conventions as they minister to victims and relief workers in the wake of Sept. 11’s terror attacks on New York City and Washington.

By a unanimous vote Sept. 14, the California Southern Baptist Convention executive board approved a “special offering Sunday” for CSBC congregations on Sept. 30. The offering was proposed for “California Southern Baptist Convention churches to give for ministry by state Baptist conventions affected by terrorist acts.”

CSBC leaders moved ahead with the response even though the special offering would take place during the California convention’s annual S.G. Posey Offering for State Missions, which is promoted each year during the entire month of September.

“I do not believe that picking up our state mission offering would be handicapped by us assisting others in need, especially at this time,” Fermin A. Whittaker, CSBC executive director, declared. “I’m trusting the Father who owns it all to deliver.”

Montia Setzler, CSBC president, agreed.

“I strongly, strongly encourage this,” said Setzler, pastor of Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside. It was Setzler who first proposed the special offering in a telephone call to Whittaker just hours after the terrorist attacks took place. The California pastor said he believes there is an “unprecedented opportunity for evangelism and ministry among those who are experiencing this tragedy.”

CSBC executive board members quickly voted to authorize the special offering with no discussion and no dissenting votes.

The action followed Sept. 11 terrorist attacks involving three hijacked passenger jets targeting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the related crash of a fourth hijacked passenger jet in Pennsylvania. More than 5,000 people have been listed as missing.

The doomed aircraft, two each operated by American Airlines and United Airlines, all were bound for California destinations before being diverted by hijackers. Included in the massive death toll are 266 people aboard the four hijacked planes.

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  • Mark A. Wyatt