INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Two hundred forty-five messengers, representing 103 churches, and 118 guests attended the 44th annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana — a 40 percent increase over 2001’s attendance.
The increase may have been, in part, because it was Charles W. Sullivan’s last meeting as executive director-treasurer. Sullivan, who will retire next May, said he sees the convention remaining true to the character it has displayed during his 12-year tenure.
“The 44th annual convention of the SCBI indicated once again the unity of the state throughout these past 12 years,” he said. “The leaders of our convention have sought more and more to be inclusive of new pastors and new voices as they come to serve in Indiana.
“The primary emphasis during these past 12 years has been evangelism and church planting coupled with missions involvement. This year’s convention gave clear evidence that this convention has not veered from its mooring in these areas,” he said. “This convention is latched to the Word of God and is ready to face the challenges of this 21st century.”
The convention approved a partnership with Baptists in eastern Ukraine to run from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31, 2005, with an extension possible if agreed upon by both parties. Sullivan, Steve Blanchard, SCBI partnership coordinator, Glen Flowers, outgoing SCBI president, and Mick Stockwell, IMB missionary to Ukraine, signed a covenant agreement putting into effect the newly established partnership.
Partnership reports from representatives from the eastern Ukraine and Florida were relayed to the messengers.
A 2003 budget of $4,560,234 was adopted, an increase of 4.2 percent over the current budget. In Cooperative Program giving from Indiana churches, 67.5 percent of an anticipated $2,742,147 will continue to be devoted to state missions and ministries and 32.5 percent to SBC international and national causes.
“We anticipate 2002 will be the 13th consecutive year in growth in Cooperative Program giving in Indiana,” Sullivan said.
In the election of officers, both the president and vice president, respectively, were elected as the lone nominees: Jim Hamilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sellersburg, and Damon Jones, pastor of Old Town Hill Baptist Church in Muncie. For second vice president, Scott Wilkins, pastor of Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, was elected over Jim Bullock, pastor of Colgate (Ind.) Baptist Church.
Sara Burke, a member of Grace Baptist Church in Evansville, was elected recording secretary as the lone nominee.
Four resolutions were adopted, including an affirmation of the new SBC “Empowering Kingdom Growth” initiative. The resolution calls for EKG to be a priority in “our own personal lives” and in the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.
A second resolution voiced opposition to an Indiana law making it possible to tax churches for property they own beyond 15 acres.
The third resolution was one of gratitude to Northside Baptist Church for hosting the convention and the fourth resolution was one of appreciation for Sullivan’s years of service with Indiana Baptists.
The 2003 annual meeting will be Oct. 28-29 at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany.