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Ind. Baptists celebrate half-century mark

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Fifty years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention was already over 100 years old. There were some Southern Baptists in Indiana, but no convention.

Fifty years ago, the International Mission Board (then Foreign Mission Board) had sent hundreds of missionaries to dozens of countries across the world; but Indiana Southern Baptists had not yet organized into a convention.

The Cooperative Program had been established. The North American Mission Board (then Home Mission Board) was reaching much of America. The Woman’s Missionary Union was over a half-century old, but not in Indiana.

Fifty years ago (Oct. 3-4, 1949), the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana was organized. Indiana is a new work state, with less than 1 percent of the state population attending an SBC church. Great progress has been made in that 50-year history, however, and the convention of SBC churches numbers 432 churches and missions.

An unprecedented lineup of SBC leaders will participate in the state’s half-century celebration and state convention meeting this weekend in Indianapolis, including:

— Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention

— Geoff Hammond, president of the North American Mission Board

— Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board

— Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources

— O. S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources

— Wanda Lee, executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union

— Stephen Davis, executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana (SCBI)

At the sold-out SCBI celebration banquet, SCBI President William Bailey will welcome hundreds of messengers, former and current laypeople, pastors and staff members and denominational leaders. The anniversary sermon will be delivered by Dr. John Sullivan, executive director of Florida Baptist Convention, a partner with SCBI.

Congratulations, Indiana Baptists, on this half-century celebration.
Compiled from information submitted by Stephen Davis, executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

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