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Dakota Baptists affirm importance of Christians in public schools

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BISMARCK, N.D. (BP)–Messengers to the annual meeting of the Dakota Baptist Convention gathered around the theme “Advancing God’s Kingdom … Catching the Winds of Revival” Oct. 19-20 at Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Bismarck, N.D.

The 69 messengers from 34 churches passed a resolution on education calling on parents to embrace the responsibility to educate their children by choosing a means of education that ensures their children’s physical, moral, emotional and spiritual development.

The resolution also called for pastors and church members be salt and light in their communities by building relationships with leaders of public school districts and by becoming actively involved in the decision-making process of local public school districts. Messengers affirmed that all Christian educators should be commended.

A second resolution on the upcoming elections addressed the issues of abortion, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman and gambling being destructive to families and society. Messengers encouraged all citizens to vote and asked that pastors be encouraged to preach with boldness in regard to the issues mentioned. They also urged Christians to respond with Christ-like love and to proclaim the availability of God’s grace and forgiveness to those who are victimized by abortion, homosexuality and gambling.

Messengers approved a 2007 budget of 1.2 million, a slight decrease of $14,500 from the current budget. Fourteen percent of Cooperative Program receipts from churches in the Dakotas will continue to be allocated to national and international missions and ministries.

Elected by acclamation as convention officers were Bill Savery, pastor of First Baptist Church in Custer, S.D., president; James “Budg” Riekeman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Williston, N.D., vice president; and Kathy Osborne, a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Grand Forks, N.D., recording secretary.

Other newsworthy items from the annual meeting included the announcement of a new missions partnership with Russia and the recognition of First Nations Baptist Association as an affinity association for the convention’s Native American churches.

Jim Hamilton, executive director of the Dakota convention, delivered a message on catching the winds of revival through being faithful to God’s calling and faithful in making choices, based on Jonah 1.

Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International and former president of Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, led the theme interpretation for each session using 1 Samuel 2:35, encouraging Dakota Baptists to be faithful servants of God.

Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, brought a challenge on the Cooperative Program.

Messengers unanimously agreed with a recommendation by the convention’s executive board to adopt the CP recommendations generated by the Ad Hoc CP Committee and approved by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., in June.

The Dakota Baptist Convention has 90 churches and missions with more than 3,400 resident members.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 8-9 at Cross Pointe Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Based on reporting by Donna Guillott.

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