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EC approves territorial change involving D.C.

HOUSTON (BP) — The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention approved a recommendation at its June 10 meeting in Houston to designate the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware as a “defined territory” to determine eligibility for representation on SBC committees and entity boards.

The recommendation, slated for consideration by convention messengers June 11, stems from expressed concerns that representatives on SBC entities and committees from the District of Columbia are being drawn from too few churches.

A disproportionately high number of trustees and committee members from those few D.C. churches, some have said, creates “an impression that runs counter to the goal of broadening inclusion and board and committee involvement as widely as possible among Southern Baptists,” according to background material given to EC members.

Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington is an example of a church having an unusually high number of SBC trustees and committee members, the background material said, noting that in the past decade 40 of 65 District of Columbia representatives have been selected from that one church.

“The District of Columbia Baptist Convention includes churches affiliated with other Baptist conventions and has a limited set of churches which would qualify to send messengers to the SBC annual meeting, and from which trustees can be nominated,” the background material stated.

“As a result, most of the trustees come from a few churches, the most predominant of which is Capitol Hill Baptist Church, thus creating the appearance of favoritism….”

According to the recommendation, the change would not affect the present term of office to which any person has been elected or appointed prior to or in the convention’s annual meeting in Houston. Also, the convention would approve the amendment of the charter of any entity necessitated by the change.

The territory designation would require an amendment of SBC Bylaw 19, causing that sentence to read in part: “A Committee on Committees, composed of two (2) members from each qualified state or defined territory, shall be appointed by the president….”

In other action, Executive Committee members elected by acclamation Atlanta-area pastor Ernest Easley of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta to a second term as chairman.

Mike Routt, pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., was re-elected vice chairman in a ballot vote with Ryan Pack, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C. Carol Yarber, a member of First Baptist Church in Malakoff, Texas, was elected secretary.

The Executive Committee re-elected John Yeats, the convention’s recording secretary, as chairman of the administrative committee; Chris Osborne of Texas as chairman of the business and finance committee; and Rodney Autry of Virginia as chairman of the Cooperative Program committee.

The Executive Committee also:

— approved a request from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to borrow up to an additional $1.2 million to support upgrades to the campus steam heating system.

— received a Cooperative Program budget report from March 31 which shows $95,352,054 has been received through the second quarter of the fiscal year and represents a 2.47 percent decrease when compared to the same period last year.
Erin Roach is assistant editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Erin Roach