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Entities dispute partnership with breakaway Mo. convention

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Several entities and institutions owned by the Missouri Baptist Convention are disputing claims that they are partners with the new Baptist General Convention of Missouri, a breakaway convention of moderate Baptists.

The Baptist General Convention of Missouri lists nine entities and institutions as partners on its Internet site. The BGCM also invites readers to “visit our partner’s [sic] websites.” The list includes Hannibal-LaGrange College, Missouri Baptist College, Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Missouri Baptist Foundation, Southwest Baptist University, The Baptist Home seniors facilities, William Jewell College, Windermere Conference Center and the Word & Way newsjournal.

Trustees of five of the entities — Missouri Baptist College, Missouri Baptist Foundation, The Baptist Home, Windermere & Word & Way — voted to become self-perpetuating, an action deemed illegal in legal opinions obtained by the Missouri Baptist Convention.

“I would say based on the legal opinion that the Missouri Baptist Convention maintains sole ownership of the agencies and institutions in question,” said Kevin Quinn, team leader for communications and technology at the MBC. “It sounds like the Baptist General Convention of Missouri desires to be partners.”

Southwest Baptist University President C. Pat Taylor said it was news to him that the university has partnered with the new convention.

“We are a Missouri Baptist Convention agency,” Taylor said. “We are very conservative and we make no bones about it. We want to reach out to all Missouri Baptists.

“As for the formation of a new Baptist convention, we don’t have anything to do with that,” he said. “We are a Missouri Baptist Convention agency.”

Likewise, Woodrow Burt, president of Hannibal-LaGrange College, told Baptist Press there is no partnership with the new convention.

“We have no official affiliation with them,” Burt said. “We serve students and churches from both sides of the spectrum. As for formal affiliation, we do not have any.”

Paul Huse, director of marketing and public relations at Missouri Baptist College, told Baptist Press the only relationship with the new convention is providing a booth at the April 19-20 organizational meeting. “We are attending the convention but we’ve made no formal arrangement with them,” he said. “From our perspective, there is no partnership.”

Baptist Press was unsuccessful in its attempts to contact the other entities and institutions for clarification of their relationships to the BGCM.

Baptist Press also attempted to contact BGCM spokesman Randy Fullerton for comment about the apparent discrepancies in the partnership list.

Roger Moran, research director for the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association, told Baptist Press the new convention is trying to mislead Missouri Baptists.

“It is another attempt to try to make the new convention appear to be as much as possible like the Missouri Baptist Convention,” Moran said. “They want to say here is where you will support the old agencies because they are coming with us. They are trying to confuse people.”

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  • Todd Starnes