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Ky. Baptists affirm missionaries, marriage amendment

LEXINGTON, Ky. (BP)–Kentucky Baptists celebrated the appointment of 69 new international missionaries and passed a resolution affirming marriage during their 166th annual meeting Nov. 11-12 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington.

Messengers heard a report outlining a new focus and direction for the KBC over the next several years, in addition to plans for reorganizing the state mission board staff. They also approved a recommendation from the board to reduce the 2004-05 Cooperative Program operating budget goal by 3 percent to $22,504,000 and signed a new partnership agreement with Brazilian Baptists.

Judge Eugene Siler was elected president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention on Tuesday afternoon. Siler, a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who served in 2003 as KBC first vice president, is one of just four laymen elected to the office in the past 50 years. Siler is a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Williamsburg.

Siler defeated Bill Henard, pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington.

Paul Chitwood, pastor of First Baptist Church in Somerset, was elected first vice president and Skip Alexander, pastor of Campbellsville Baptist Church, was elected second vice president. Chitwood defeated Bob Baker, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington, while Alexander, who delivered the convention sermon, defeated Wallace York, a retired pastor from Princeton. Wilma Simmons, a member of Rock Haven Baptist Church, Brandenburg, was re-elected by acclamation as convention secretary.

Some 3,500 Kentucky Baptists also gathered at the Lexington Center’s Rupp Arena on Tuesday evening for the appointment of 69 new international missionaries. The crowd was welcomed by Tubby Smith, University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach.

Jerry Rankin, International Mission Board president, emphasized in a missions message that the IMB workers are not “super Christians,” but are instead ordinary believers obedient to God’s call, much like the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.

Record numbers of Southern Baptists are responding to the call to missions, Avery Willis, senior vice president of overseas operations for the International Mission Board, said. So many are responding, in fact, that the IMB lacks the funds to send all of them. But if Southern Baptists will remain faithful to giving to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, Willis said the IMB will “send every missionary you’ll pay for.”

During the convention’s Wednesday morning session, messengers approved a number of resolutions, including a resolution supporting marriage. The resolution affirms the Covenant Marriage Movement and calls on the U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Another resolution opposed the expansion of gambling and alcohol sales.

Messengers also passed a resolution in memory of A.B. Colvin, known as “Mr. Kentucky Baptist,” who died Aug. 27 after more than 45 years of service to Kentucky Baptists.

In other business, messengers heard a report from the mission board outlining a new focus and direction for the KBC, called “Kentucky Baptists Connect,” setting aggressive new goals for evangelism, missions, leader training, networking, church strengthening and building relationships with entities and institutions during the next several years. Bill Mackey, KBC executive director, also presented plans for the reorganization of the mission board staff. The streamlined operations, he said, will help Kentucky Baptists in reaching the goals and objectives set forth in the new emphasis.

Messengers approved a recommendation from the mission board to reduce the 2004-05 Cooperative Program operating budget goal by 3 percent to $22,504,000. The convention will continue to send 36 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries and 64 percent remaining for outreach initiatives by the Kentucky convention. The Cooperative Program challenge goal remains the same at $1,300,000.

Scott Pittman, a missionary serving in northern Brazil, was on hand to sign a new partnership agreement between Kentucky Baptists and Baptists in northeastern Brazil to officially begin in 2005.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 16-17 at St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville.
Brenda Rick Smith is the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s news/web specialist.

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