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Mich. Baptists authorize building sale, affirm women

JACKSON, Mich. (BP) — The Baptist State Convention of Michigan authorized its Executive Board to sell the convention’s office building in Fenton, Mich., and adopted an increased 2019 budget.

Messengers to the BSCM annual meeting also launched a church planting and revitalization partnership with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and adopted resolutions affirming “the dignity and worth of women” and denouncing domestic abuse.

The Michigan convention convened Nov. 9 at Grace Church in Jackson, Mich., with 132 messengers representing 50 of the convention’s 305 cooperating churches. The meeting’s theme was “The Power of ONE — Multiplied.”

A building sale was authorized because the BSCM’s current office building contains 25 offices along with space for support staff though only five BSCM employees work in the building. A move would cut costs, but no offers to purchase the building have been made to date.

The 2019 budget of $2,843,701 — a 5.6 percent increase from the current year — anticipates $1,300,000 in Cooperative Program giving from churches, $710,576 from the North American Mission Board and $55,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources.

The convention will forward 27.5 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist Convention national and international causes, the same percentage forwarded in 2018. There are no budget provisions for shared ministry expenses.

The convention launched two new partnerships. The partnership with Texas Baptists will focus on revitalization and church planting in inner-city Detroit. The Southern Baptist Foundation of Michigan began a partnership with WatersEdge Advisors, a tradename of The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, in which the Oklahoma foundation will manage the Michigan foundation’s accounts.

Eight of the nine resolutions adopted by BSCM messengers largely mirrored resolutions adopted by the SBC at its annual meeting this summer in Dallas. A resolution “on the dignity and worth of women as co-heirs and co-laborers in the mission of God’s church” “honor[ed] the immeasurable contribution of women to our cooperative mission of Great Commission work.”

A separate resolution “on domestic violence and abuse” “acknowledge[d] that abuse dishonors the marriage covenant, and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church.”

Other resolutions addressed the integrity of ministry leadership, “the full dignity of every human being,” “Christlike communication,” immigration and domestic terrorism.

The newly elected slate of officers included: president, Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church in Macomb, Mich.; first vice president, Roy Henry, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Battle Creek, Mich.; second vice president, Ed Emmerling, pastor of Westside Church in Flushing, Mich.; recording secretary, Eli Garza, pastor of First Spanish Baptist Church in Detroit; and assistant recording secretary, Roland Caldwell, pastor of Burnette Baptist Church in Detroit.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 8 at a location to be determined.