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‘God doesn’t promise us safety,’ Kelley tells Utah-Idaho Baptists

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (BP)–Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, used his experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to bring Isaiah 43:1-2 to life for the 110 messengers representing 46 churches at the 41st annual meeting of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention Oct. 25-26 at Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

“We are secure in our relationship with God as believers, but God doesn’t promise us safety,” Kelley, the meeting’s featured speaker, said during an interpretation of the convention’s theme, “Chosen for Greatness.”

During another theme interpretation message, Kelley pointed to 2 Corinthians 4 to assure messengers that even though this world may bring troubles such as hurricanes and floods, “something better is coming.”

Messengers approved a budget of $807,578, which is an increase of 2.66 percent over the current year’s budget. The amount forwarded for national and international missions and ministries will remain at 21 percent.

Rodger Russell, pastor of Holladay Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Paul Thompson, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, were nominated for convention president before Russell was elected in a runoff vote.

Dan Ozuna, pastor of Iglesia Bautista de Agua Viva in Boise, Idaho, was elected first vice president. Rick Brodie, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Idaho, was elected second vice president, and Ruth Burch, a member of Layton Hills Baptist Church in Layton, Utah, was re-elected recording secretary — all by acclamation.

The top 10 churches for baptisms were recognized as part of the “Everyone Can” Kingdom Challenge, and officials reported that 600 blankets were collected from Utah-Idaho Baptists for delivery to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Messengers approved the formation of a relations committee to develop a cooperative spirit between the state convention and the associations of the convention, and Russell was tapped to lead the group. Utah-Idaho Baptists also decided to explore the idea of a media campaign to familiarize the region with Southern Baptists.

Five new executive board members were nominated and approved to serve. They are Lyman Fiack, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wellington, Utah; Keith Markham, a member of Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah; Brian Ashcraft, pastor of Southpoint Church in Sandy, Utah; Jerel Miller, pastor of New Hope Fellowship in Clearfield, Utah; and Don Woody, pastor of First Baptist Church in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.

New pastors to Utah and Idaho in 2005 introduced themselves to the messengers. They are James Gomez of First Southern Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah; Jim Panagopoulos of First Baptist Church in Roy, Utah; Shane Smith of First Baptist Church in Brigham City, Utah; Ray Sparkman of Desert Streams Fellowship in Kuna, Idaho; Russ Sherrick of Rupert Baptist Church in Rupert, Idaho; John “Bear” Davis of First Baptist Church in Kimberly, Idaho; Ryan Eaves of New Hope Fellowship in Clearfield, Utah; Larry Grover of Alta Canyon Baptist Church in Sandy, Utah; and Becky Porter, Baptist Collegiate Ministries director for Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Marty Taylor, the outgoing convention president, used Deuteronomy 6:1-9 to remind parents and leaders to “walk the faith out for future generations.”

“When the clapping is done, we must carry on in faith and trust in the Lord,” he said.

The 2006 annual meeting of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention will be Oct. 24-25 at Southeast Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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  • Bill Pepper