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Jeffrey Haggray, D.C. Baptists gather for ‘Worship’ sessions

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (BP)–“Worship” was the theme of the 125th annual meeting of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention, Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church, Gaithersburg, Md.

In addition to 188 delegates, attendance at each session exceeded 300 for the first annual meeting with Jeffrey Haggray as the convention’s executive director/minister. Haggray, who assumed the position in August, was formally installed in an Oct. 28 service at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington.

Shortly before the meeting convened, two of the featured speakers, Molly Marshall of Central Baptist Seminary, Kansas City, Kan., and J. Alfred Smith, pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, Calif., notified the convention’s program committee that family illnesses would prevent their appearances.

Carolyn Gordon, a former staff member with the DCBC and now a professor at Central Seminary, and Randal Everett, president of the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, Falls Church, Va., accepted the last-minute assignments to speak.

C. Welton Gaddy, executive director of Washington-based Interfaith Alliance and pastor of First Baptist Church, Monroe, La., led a worship workshop for the entire gathering, while Bill Moyer, pastor of Hillandale Baptist Church, Adelphi, Md., and professor of church history at the John Leland Center, brought the annual sermon.

The convention heard from representatives from the three religious bodies with which it is affiliated, the Southern Baptist Convention, American Baptist Churches/USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

At the Tuesday evening session, a special offering was taken to help offset a downturn in convention income as a result of the general slowing of the economy and the impact of the nation’s Sept. 11 tragedy. DCBC churches have been challenged to raise $100,000 in over-and-above contributions before the end of 2001, and the offering at the convention totaled $4,361 as a start on the larger goal.

The convention welcomed two new churches, four new pastors and affirmed 10 individuals, all women, who had been ordained during the past 12 months.

In its business sessions, the convention approved a $1.5 million budget, elected people to fill various positions and celebrated God’s work in their midst for a century and a quarter.

At the recommendation of the convention’s nominating committee, Carol Wilson, of Chevy Chase Baptist Church, Washington, was elected president and Charles Updike, pastor of First Baptist Church, Gaithersburg, Md., was elected vice president. LaTricia Jones, of First Baptist Church, Georgetown, was re-elected recording secretary/treasurer.

The annual meeting does not consider resolutions by virtue of convention bylaws, but prayer and support were offered for victims and their families resulting from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Haggray reported that nearly $300,000 for a Compassion Fund has been received at the convention’s offices from various individuals and Baptist bodies around the nation, and the fund is being administered by the convention.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 10-11 at Fort Foote Baptist Church, Fort Washington, Md.

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  • Robert Maddox