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Minn.-Wis. Baptists meet in northernmost association

DULUTH, Minn. (BP)–Messengers to the 15th annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention met Oct. 29-31 for the first time in the Northwoods Baptist Association, the geographically largest and northernmost of the convention’s seven associations.
The 119 messengers and 91 visitors held their opening session in the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, the first time the MWBC had used convention facilities rather than a church building for its annual meeting. Friday and Saturday sessions were held in the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview, which also served as convention headquarters.
Harmony and unity marked the three-day meeting in which messengers extended their partnership with Brazil’s Amazona State Convention for two years, established a 21st Century Strategy Development Committee, elected officers by acclamation, adopted a record $1.9 million budget, approved amendments to their bylaws and to the articles of incorporation of the MWB Foundation, and adopted five resolutions each expressing gratitude and appreciation to various individuals and groups.
Elected were Phil Smith, president, member of Glen Lake Baptist Church in Minnetonka, Minn., re-elected for a second term; George Ray, first vice president, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester, Minn.; and Kevin Clark, second vice president, layman from Celebration Fellowship, Oshkosh, Wis.
The 1999 budget of $1,903,426 is a 4 percent increase over the current budget of $1,826,600. Both budgets designate 26 percent as the amount to be forwarded to national Cooperative Program causes. In 1999, the anticipated amount will be $104,000 from the convention’s 145 churches and missions, encompassing about 16,000 members.
The amendment to the MWBC bylaws formalized the existence of a partnership missions committee. The four amendments to the MWBF’s articles of incorporation were all in response to legal and Internal Revenue Service requirements.
The resolutions, approved collectively by voice vote of the messengers, expressed appreciation to:
— David Sundeen, director of missions for the Northwoods Baptist Association and volunteers from the association for “their gracious provision of hospitality and childcare;”
— the Baptist General Convention of Texas for their support “through partnership, leadership, stewardship and fellowship;”
— Bill and Becky Dodson, longtime leaders of MWBC work, who recently moved to Knoxville, Tenn.;
— former staff member W.D. “Doc” Lindsey and his wife, Holly, who are relocating after his call as executive director/missions director of the Dakota Southern Baptist Fellowship; and
— the MWBC executive director, officers and staff for their leadership in ensuring that the annual meeting would be “a transforming experience for each messenger and guest.”
Missions messages, reports and testimonies tied the sessions to the overall theme of “Transformed in Every City and Place.” Featured speakers included Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, and Richard Harris, a vice president of the North American Mission Board.
MWBC’s own mission involvement was emphasized through an impressive presentation of the flags of 20 countries where M-W Baptists now serve; an audio-visual report from members of the two volunteer teams who went to Brazil this year; staff reports, including one from Steve Melvin, church extension director, that MWBC had nine new church starts in 1998, 24 proposed for 1999 and plans in place to reach the goal of 400 churches by 2010.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 4-6 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, Eau Claire, Wis.

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  • David Williams