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Holiness highlighted during New Mexico convention

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (BP)–Baptists from across New Mexico gathered in Las Cruces to affirm God’s holiness during the 87th annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico Oct. 26-27.
The 375 registered messengers and 235 visitors were hosted by one of the state convention’s founding congregations, First Baptist Church, Las Cruces, which invited the convention to help it celebrate its 100th birthday.
Holiness was the common thread throughout the two-day, four-session BCNM meeting, as most of the time was spent in worship and proclamation concerning God’s call to holiness.
After focusing on the “Holiness of God” on Tuesday afternoon, “Holiness in the Family” followed on Tuesday evening, “Personal Holiness” on Wednesday morning and a “Call to National Holiness” in the convention’s closing session, Wednesday evening.
Keynote speakers developed the session themes: BCNM Executive Director Claude Cone, Tuesday afternoon; Robert Jeffress, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, Tuesday evening; convention President Joe Bunce, pastor of First Baptist Church, Bloomfield, and Second Vice President Boyd Morerod, pastor of First Baptist Church, Los Chavez, during the presidential address and annual sermon, respectively, Wednesday morning; and Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wednesday evening.
All of the recommendations brought during the annual meeting were approved with no changes, and most with no discussion, including new articles of incorporation and bylaws for the BCNM, its children’s home, foundation and two camps.
After approving the changes proposed by the bylaw study committee created during last year’s annual meeting, messengers promptly directed the executive board to study amending the BCNM’s new articles to make the recently amended SBC Baptist Faith and Message statement the convention’s guide in identifying churches sympathetic with the convention’s purpose.
The action was taken to address a concern held by many of the messengers that, under the new articles, messengers are no longer required to be members of churches that are in cooperation with local associations.
The resolutions committee recommended without revision, and messengers adopted, a joint recommendation approved one day earlier by the BCNM’s Baptist Men, Woman’s Missionary Union and Pastors’ Conference calling the state’s Baptists to 80 days of “desperate prayer and fasting, humbly seeking the face of God for the withholding of His judgment, and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit in national revival and spiritual awakening.”
The 80 days fall between the state convention and the state evangelism conference Jan. 17-19, 2000.
Decrying the recent call by New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for the legalization of drugs, a resolution also was adopted to encourage Johnson “to reverse this most destructive and immoral position … .”
A third resolution urged Eastern New Mexico University in Portales to keep religion courses in its curriculum. The resolution addressed a recent move by a committee at the university to remove religion courses from the general education curriculum. The resolution encourages the university “to keep, and expand where possible, the number of religious courses … as an option for students who wish to take such courses.”
A BCNM budget for the year 2000 was approved, which will require $3,145,003 in Cooperative Program giving from the churches, an increase of $51,804, or 1.7 percent, over the 1999 budget.
After the exception of $77,000 in preferred items (ministers’ retirement and retirees’ insurance) is applied, 30.5 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts, an estimated $935,741, will be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international missions and ministry. The percentage is unchanged from last year.
The remaining 69.5 percent, $2,132,262, along with additional income of $1,066,118 from various sources — Baptist New Mexican subscriptions and advertising, Baptist Building rental income, and the SBC’s North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources — will be used to support a total operating budget of $3,198,380 for mission work in New Mexico.
Noticeably absent from next year’s convention budget is the New Mexico Baptist Foundation and Church Loan Corporation.
Next year will be the first in the foundation’s 51-year history that it will not receive a set amount through the convention budget.
Instead, a new line item has been established that will be used to pay the foundation for services rendered to the convention when the foundation conducts wills and trust seminars in convention churches and consultations with individuals and families.
The amount in next year’s budget to pay for services when they are rendered is $25,000. The line item for the foundation in this year’s budget was $51,000.
Foundation President Lee Black, in his report, thanked the convention for its investment of $1.67 million toward the foundation’s budget since 1948. He noted that the investment has resulted in $48.79 million of financial benefits for Baptists and Baptist causes.
Bunce and Morerod, along with First Vice President Clark Henderson, music and senior adult minister at Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque, were elected to a second term by acclamation.
Not overlooked during the 1999 meeting was the arrival in 1849 of Hiram Walter Read, New Mexico’s first Baptist preacher, a missionary for the Northern Baptist Convention. A special commemoration of the sesquicentennial was held during the opening session.
Next year’s BCNM annual meeting will be Oct. 23-25 at the Gallup Convention Center in Gallup.

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  • John Loudat