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Mich. Baptists celebrate unity, diversity at 45th convention

INKSTER, Mich. (BP)–Michigan Southern Baptists met for the first time at an African-American church and elected their first African-American president in nearly 20 years as they met at Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster, Mich., Nov. 5-7.

The 45th annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan highlighted the historic value of the convention with the theme “Michigan Southern Baptists Celebrate One God, One People, One Message!”

With outgoing president Bob Beddingfield concluding two years of service, Robert Coverson of Second Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit was elected president by acclamation. Having served two terms as first vice president, Coverson is the first African-American president to serve Michigan Southern Baptists in nearly 20 years. Rochelle Davis, an African-American pastor of Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Detroit, served as president in the mid-’80s.

Ron Emmerling, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Flint, was elected first vice president; Ken Render, pastor of Lakeside Community Church in St. Clair Shores, was elected second vice president; and August Peters of Frontier Baptist Chapel in Hillsdale was elected recording secretary. All were elected by acclamation.

A 2003 budget of $3,779,128 was approved. The new budget is a 3.5 percent increase over the previous budget. The percentage given to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program will remain at 30 percent with an anticipated amount of $541,059. Because of the increase in the total budget, the Cooperative Program national and international portion translates into an increase of $17,278. The amount of Cooperative Program receipts required by Michigan churches is $1,803,530.

In other news, messengers heard reports from four ministry areas within the convention. The evangelism ministry reported the third straight year of increased baptisms, the cooperative missions branch kicked off its Light Up the Great Lakes state emphasis, the church growth representatives announced record Vacation Bible School numbers, and the Bambi Lake Conference Center reported record attendance.

Two hundred seventy-one messengers and 273 guests registered for the meeting.

The 2003 annual meeting will be Nov. 4-6 at Grace Church in Jackson.
Adapted from an article by Julie Scheving.

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