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Jim Hill resigns as Missouri exec

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)–Jim Hill, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, resigned Oct. 4 following a special called meeting of the MBC executive board.

Hill’s resignation followed the board’s vote to extend the 48-year-old Missouri Baptist executive a 12-month severance package. Hill’s resignation is effective the end of the working day Oct. 19.

After accepting Hill’s resignation, the board appointed two convention staff members Larry Thomas, ministry support group leader, and David Waganer, ministry resource group leader, as interim leadership. A search committee for a new executive director is expected to be named following the Oct. 29-31 MBC annual meeting later in Cape Girardeau.

MBC president and chairman of the board Robert D. Collins, pastor of Plaza Heights Baptist Church, Blue Springs, issued the following statement following Hill’s resignation:

“This process has been handled in a Christ-like manner. Dr. Hill has been very forthright in his discussion of what he thought would be best for his family and future ministry, as well as the MBC. The severance agreement has been agreed upon by Dr. Hill and approved by the board. We wish him God’s best in the days and months to come.”

Before being elected to the top post in Missouri Baptist life in November 1997, Hill served as pastor of South County Baptist Church, St. Louis. He followed the position previously held by Don Wideman who retired August 31, 1997. Hill officially took office in January 1998.

The meeting was called by Collins and held at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City.

In an e-mail to MBC staff in advance of the meeting, Hill said the meeting was called in consultation with Randy Fullerton, chairman of the executive board’s administrative committee, according to an Oct. 3 report in the Word&Way state Baptist journal.

“The meeting will address some sensitive issues related to the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” Hill wrote. Board members received only notification of the meeting, not the recommendation.

Hill told the Word&Way the previous week that the administrative committee would bring a recommendation to the full board. When asked whether the recommendation was a “peace initiative,” Hill said he would not term it as such. Some executive board members will feel good about the recommendation; others will not, he predicted.

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