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Minn.-Wis. Baptists connect with Russian Baptists in Siberia


EAU CLAIRE, Wis.(BP)–Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists now have a Russian connection — a missions partnership with Baptists in a region of Siberia.

Messengers to the 16th annual session of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, Nov. 4-6 in Eau Claire, Wis., unanimously approved and applauded the new three-year partnership with the Evangelical Christian Baptists of the Irkutsk Oblast.

The 116 messengers from 51 churches also approved a special business meeting during next spring’s “Empower 2000” conference for the purpose of approving the Twenty-First Century Strategies Committee’s report. The committee presented its report at the annual meeting, but wanted M-W Baptists to “take time to digest these strategies, pray about them and make a serious commitment to carry them out,” said Charles Dunning, chairman of the strategy committee.

Empower 2000 is scheduled for Mar. 16-18 at Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center. The vote on the strategies will be the first MWBC called business meeting, and also likely will be the largest attendance at a business meeting, since attendance has topped 500 at recent Empower conferences. Total attendance at the annual meeting in Eau Claire was 207, including messengers, guests and children.

In other action, messengers:

— Elected as president George Ray, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn.; first vice president, Jim Downs, pastor of Highland Crest Baptist Church of Green Bay, Wis.; and second vice president, David Lowrie, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church of Milwaukee.


— Amended the MWBC bylaws, requiring that resolutions proposed at an annual meeting require a three-fourths majority for passage.

— Approved a $1.97 million budget for 2000, keeping at 26 percent the portion of receipts from churches passed on to national Cooperative Program causes.

— Passed resolutions thanking Trinity Baptist Church of Eau Claire for making arrangements for the convention; expressing appreciation and love for recently deceased former state evangelism director Gail Zimmerman and expressing condolences to his family; appreciating staff member David Turner for his 20 years of service; and expressing condolences to the family of Sydney Brown and others killed during the shooting at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, earlier this year. Brown was program director for the MWBC youth camp last summer.

— Set the 2001 annual meeting at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wis., with Valley Baptist Church, Appleton, and Living Vine Baptist Chapel, Neenah, Wis., as hosts.

— Designated that the annual sermon for the 2000 meeting (to be held Nov. 9-11 at the Best Western in St. Cloud, Minn.) will be delivered by Stan McFall, pastor, Southtown Baptist Church, Bloomington, Minn., with the alternate Ivan Mileyev, pastor, Grace Slavic Baptist Church, Bloomington.