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Dakota Baptists partner in DR with Minn./Wisc., Iowa

BISMARCK, S.D. (BP) — Dakota Baptist messengers have approved partnering in disaster relief with Southern Baptists of neighboring states in 2017 in an effort to extend the Dakotas’ relief efforts nationwide.

During the 2016 Dakota Baptist Convention’s (DBC) annual meeting held Sept. 22–23 at the Ramada Inn in Bismarck, S.D., 56 messengers also approved an increased budget, elected officers and adopted two resolutions, one relating to this year’s U.S. elections and the other to the sin of homosexuality.

Disaster relief partnership

At the recommendation of DBC executive director and treasurer Garvon Golden, messengers to the convention’s 33rd annual meeting approved a disaster relief partnership with the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention and the Baptist Convention of Iowa.

“Our approach to disaster relief has been our State Missions Director (Buck Hill) being the contact person and when there are disaster relief needs in North or South Dakota, he contacted other groups in other states for assistance,” Golden said in a letter recommending the partnership. “I have been discussing with our counterparts in Minnesota/Wisconsin and Iowa about partnering together in disaster relief.”

Golden thanked Hill and Jeff Musgrave, church health and leadership development director for North Dakota, for serving as contact persons for disaster relief, but said the partnership is designed to expand relief by combining available resources, benefitting from joint training, and providing centralized coordination.

“We would have a point person in the Dakotas to work with a disaster relief couple that would provide training, administrative and coordination for all three [state conventions],” Golden said. “In our case, they would begin by conducting training, maintaining a list of disaster relief volunteers for the Dakotas and be in charge of calling out volunteers when needed.”

Dave and Jeanne Wedekind, co-directors of disaster relief with the Minnesota-Wisconsin convention, have agreed to be the point people for the partnership beginning in January, 2017, providing training, administration and coordination, the DBC said.

“They would help us keep our training updated and we could help complete teams that are called out from the other two [state conventions],” Golden said in his recommendation. “They would also be able to connect those around our [state convention] with training in other areas such as childcare, shower units, mud-outs and chainsaw units and the volunteers could serve on teams from other states.”

Budget and elected officers

The 2017 budget of $468,800 is 2.6 percent higher than the 2016 allocation of $457,000. Dakota Baptists will increase by 1 percentage point the amount of Cooperative Program receipts forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international causes. Messengers approved sending 24.5 percent, $82,075, of an anticipated $335,000 in Cooperative Program receipts to the SBC, the DBC reported.

Newly elected officers are president Steve Ford, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Vermillion, S.D.; vice president Jonathan Land, pastor of Connection Church in Sioux Falls, S.D.; recording secretary Ernie Nelson, pastor of Outreach Community Church in Box Elder, S.D., and assistant recording secretary Karen Holmes, wife of the pastor and a member of First Baptist Church in Wolsey, S.D.

The convention theme was “Sharing the Gospel Across the Dakotas,” with representatives in attendance from 41 of the 92 churches in the convention comprising South Dakota and North Dakota. Also attending were 34 guests.

In a resolution pledging “to vote and support our Christian heritage,” messengers were urged to pray for all upcoming elections, to participate in the 2016 elections by “voting Biblical values found in scripture,” and agreed to encourage friends and family members to do the same.

In a resolution on homosexual behavior, messengers “unequivocally” stated “that homosexual behavior is a sin for which Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross.” The resolution declared that since “homosexual behavior is not a lifestyle, but a sin that cannot be accepted by Christian brothers,” then the church cannot accept same-sex marriage. The resolution affirms that those who practice homosexual behavior can be forgiven “like all sinners can,” and “can receive forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and be transformed by the power of the gospel.”

The 2017 Dakota Baptist Gathering is set for Sept. 21–22 in Pierre, S.D.