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Executive Committee hears report from Elliff on family council

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee met June 11 to consider the adoption of its 74th annual report prior to the SBC annual meeting, June 12-13 in the Louisiana Superdome.

In presenting the report of the SBC Council on Family Life for approval, Tom Elliff, chairman of the council, made the recommendation that the Executive Committee vote to change the title of the council to Southern Baptist Council on Family Life, dropping the term “Convention” in order to clarify that the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life will serve solely under the leadership of the SBC Executive Committee.

Acknowledging the work of SBC agencies in the area of family life, Elliff emphasized the council would cooperate with SBC entities as well as other denominations and groups which are doctrinally and scripturally similar to Southern Baptists.

“We have to hold hands together,” Elliff said. “Family as we know it could fast disappear from the landscape … and as Southern Baptists we must do something.”

In other action, the Executive Committee:

— unanimously adopted a recommendation that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary form two limited liability companies to develop the seminary-owned Grinstead Drive properties for student and market rate multi-family housing. The seminary also may pursue an external loan of $1.5 million for the purpose of supporting the development of the two housing projects.

— received as information a report from the Executive Committee’s business and finance subcommittee that noted the SBC had received and distributed $89.2 million between the months of October 2000 and March 2001, a 1.3 percent increase in funds for the same time period in the previous budget year.

— awarded plaques of appreciation for several Executive Committee members whose terms have expired, including John Click, retired pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Goddard, Kan.; Douglas Dutton, an attorney from First Baptist Church Concord, Knoxville, Tenn.; Reuel May Jr., an oral surgeon who is a member of First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss.; Pat Pajak Sr., pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Decatur, Ill.; John C. Robbins, pastor of Bookcliff Baptist Church, Grand Junction, Colo.; Jim Wells, director of missions for Tri-County Baptist Association, Highlandville, Mo.

— awarded plaques of appreciation for several Executive Committee members who have resigned, including Harry S. Dent, lay minister at First Baptist Church, West Columbia, S.C.; Lee Mabry, pastor of First Baptist Church, Boiling Springs, S.C.; and Jerry Spencer, formerly of Dothan, Ala.

Executive Committee member Bill Elliff, having earlier nominated Gary Smith for vice chairman and praising him for “leading a church with moderate tendencies to become one of the greatest conservative churches in Texas,” raised a point of personal privilege. While running the risk of being misunderstood, Elliff said he felt compelled to caution against excessive pre-election solicitation of votes for prospective Executive Committee officers.

Chairman Claude Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas, responded by encouraging committee members to receive Elliff’s caution in the same spirit with which it was spoken.

“It’s always well to remember you have your opinion, but it’s a very dangerous thing when you start claiming your rights,” Thomas said. “It’s not about your rights or mine — it’s about our hearts and service to the Lord.”

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  • Joni B. Hannigan