News Articles

Minn.-Wis. Baptists dedicate convention to David Turner

APPLETON, Wis. (BP)–The importance of each believer’s involvement in ministry was emphasized during the 18th annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, Nov. 9-10 in Appleton, Wis.

Under the theme, “Experience and Express the Good News!” 107 messengers and 78 guests gathered at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, representing 41 churches and each of the eight associations except Western.

The MWBC annual meeting and the minutes were dedicated to the memory of David Turner, longtime convention staff member who died at 59 only four days before the meeting began. Turner had retired in May after a six-month medical leave made necessary by debilitating strokes suffered during his recovery from surgery in October 2000.

He had served on the MWBC staff 21 years as director of language missions, Brotherhood and disaster relief. Previously, he had been a Hispanic church starter in Wisconsin’s Lakeland Baptist Association.

Turner was the son of missionaries to Guatemala, Herman and Mildred Turner, now of Altoona, Ala. He was a Vietnam War veteran and a 1976 graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo. In addition to his wife, Sue, and his parents, Turner is survived by three sons, Michael of Rochester, Minn., Kenneth of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Steven of Albuquerque, N.M.; two daughters, Michele Danen of Farmington, Minn., and Sherri Darst of Rochester, Minn.; and 10 grandchildren.

In a resolution, the convention voiced “our deepest appreciation for David and Sue’s ministry to the glory of God” and encouraged churches and individuals “to contribute cheerfully and generously to the David Turner Language Missions Endowment Fund as a fitting monument to their work among us.” The goal for the fund’s endowment is $100,000, with proceeds to assist in MWBC language missions work. Information about the fund may be obtained by contacting the Minnesota-Wisconsin convention at (507) 282-3636. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Foundation, 519 16th St., Rochester, MN 55904.

Messengers heard a report by phone from Aubrey Williams, MWBC disaster relief director, on site as a volunteer with the Red Cross and Salvation Army in New York City. He began his report by expressing appreciation to Turner who had gotten him involved in disaster relief ministry.

A $2,241,781 budget for 2002 was approved, marking a 4 percent increase over the current budget. Of an anticipated $520,000 in Cooperative Program giving from Minnesota-Wisconsin churches, 26 percent will continue to be allocated for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.

Messengers also approved a new three-year missions partnership with Baptists in Acre, Brazil.

Charles Dunning, a member of Valley Baptist Church in Appleton, Wis., was elected president as the lone nominee, as was Dan Yoder, pastor of Grand Rapids (Minn.) Baptist Church and Calvary Pines Baptist Church, Cohasset, Minn., as first vice president. Phil Faig, pastor of Northwood Community Church in Maple Grove, Minn., was elected second vice president in a two-nominee ballot.

Arne Gulbrandsen, pastor of Parkside Baptist Church in Kenosha, Wis., delivered the annual sermon.

George Ray, current convention president and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn., reported on the work of the executive director search committee. After an Aug. 11 organizational meeting, the committee has spent time in prayer, revising the position description, establishing a profile, receiving resumes and listening to M-W Baptists. Bill Tinsley resigned as MWBC executive director June 30 to become associate executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“We are all persuaded and overwhelmed with the fact that this has to be of the Lord,” Ray said of the executive director search process. “We’re wide open to what God wants to do.” The committee was slated to have its second meeting on Nov. 17 and then begin to meet regularly, he said.

In a resolution titled, “Prayer for Our Country,” the convention noted the challenges facing the country after Sept. 11’s terrorist attacks, praying “for a speedy victory for our nation and our allies over the scourge of terrorism” and for “healing, spiritual awakening, for international missionaries, political and military leaders and personnel,” adding, “may we remember that ‘righteousness exalts a nation.'” Messengers called on M-W Baptists “to continue exemplifying and sharing the love, compassion and life-changing message of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to all people regardless of religion, race, origin or ethnic background or political persuasion.”

Leo Endel, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, led a Bible study at each session dealing with obstacles to church growth, using the Book of Numbers as his text.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 1-2 in Bloomington, Minn. Messengers approved meeting dates and locations through 2004: Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2003, in Madison, Wis., and Oct. 29-30, 2004, in Rochester, Minn.

    About the Author

  • David Williams