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Colo. convention celebrates half-century of ministry

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (BP)–“Days of Glory: A Place Where the Past and the Future Meet in the Living Present” was the theme of the Colorado Baptist General Convention’s 50th anniversary meeting. Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge hosted the Oct. 21-22 sessions as well as the Bible/Pastors Conference Oct. 20.

Convention speakers included longtime Colorado pastor Lewis Adkison; Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board; Thom Rainer, president-elect of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Reggie McNeal, director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s leadership team.

Dennis Jernigan, a noted worship leader, and Larnelle Harris, a popular Christian artist, provided music for the meeting.

Reccord, McNeal and Michael Wright, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lone Tree, led the Bible/Pastors Conference.

On hand for the CBGC’s anniversary and convention business were 268 messengers representing 90 Colorado Baptist churches. A large number of guests also attended.

A “Voices from the Past” celebration Friday morning featured founding members of the convention and those who were part of the convention’s early days. Truett McGregor spoke by video of starting a church in Fort Collins in 1955. Bob Lawrence, who retired from the CBGC in 1984, shared how he was called to help begin the Northern Plains Convention in 1967 where he served for seven years before returning to Colorado.

Joe Cherry, the second camp manager of what was then called the Ponderosa Southern Baptist Assembly (now Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center), said the greatest thrill of his service was seeing children come to faith in Christ.

Nicy Murphy shared her thoughts about the Colorado convention through a letter read by Mark Edlund, CBGC executive director. Murphy was the state’s first Woman’s Missionary Union executive secretary, and the Colorado State Missions Offering is named in her honor.

Jernigan focused attention on God throughout the day, and Harris, joined by a mass choir, led in upbeat worship during the evening celebration.

In the executive director’s report Friday evening, Edlund said, “We are a strong conservative state convention free of division and controversy. This is the wonderful legacy we Colorado Baptists of today have been given.

“Fifty years ago,” he added, “at this October meeting, our convention was birthed by about 40 constituted churches in Colorado meeting at the First Southern Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. This afternoon we talked about the present. The CBGC has never been stronger.”

The convention is debt-free, Edlund noted, also listing such advances as Ponderosa’s completion of a waste management system bringing the conference center into compliance and on good terms with the county and the Rocky Mountain Campus of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary now being accredited with 80 students.

Edlund challenged Colorado Southern Baptists to leave a legacy of “thousands of lives radically changed by Christ.” He referred to the 2020 Vision adopted by the CBGC in 2003, which he said is the total saturation of Colorado with the Gospel of Christ.

Throughout the meeting, the importance of the Cooperative Program and the involvement of laypersons in ministry also were affirmed.

Messengers approved a $3.7 million budget, including forwarding 29.25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts from Colorado churches for national and international missions and ministries, up from the current 29 percent.

Three churches were approved for credentialing: Hope Valley in Aurora, CenterPoint in Littleton and Matthew’s House in Durango.

Doug Lohrey, CBGC associate executive director, reported that the Baptist Foundation of Colorado continues to grow healthier and that foundation money is being invested conservatively and being used to help churches.

New officers were elected by acclamation: president, Charlie Jones, pastor of Fellowship of the Rockies in Pueblo; first vice president, Darrin Crow, pastor of Heart of Junction Church in Grand Junction; second vice president, Sean Cole, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sterling; recording secretary, Ginger LeBlanc, executive secretary at the CBGC; and associate recording secretary Katee Goode, ministry assistant at the CBGC.

Four resolutions were presented and approved by messengers. One honored those Southern Baptists who began work in Colorado more than 50 years ago. Another resolution pledged prayer for President George W. Bush and elected officials as they selected the next Supreme Court justice, who was subsequently named Oct. 31.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 16-18 at Fellowship of the Rockies in Pueblo.

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  • Claudean Boatman