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Minn./Wis. Baptists thank Texas leader for helping hand

MILWAUKEE (BP)–Resolutions stretched from appreciation to concern at the 14th annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, Nov. 6-8 at Ephesians Baptist Church, Milwaukee.
Appreciation was voiced to Charles McLaughlin, retired director of the state missions commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, for “his substantial leadership, encouragement and advice in helping the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention develop from an association of the Baptist General Convention of Texas to formation as a convention of its own.”
Concern, meanwhile, was voiced for the religious freedom of Jews, with the resolution noting “approximately 6,000,000 Jews (were) executed just for being a Jew or of Jewish descent” and: “There are Neo-Nazi groups in this nation and around the world still today that seek the same end.”
Phil Smith, a layman from Glen Lake Baptist Church, Minnetonka, Minn., was elected president over George Ray, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester, Minn. Ray then was elected first vice president over Kevin Clark, a layman from Celebration Fellowship, Fond du Lac, Wis. Clark was elected second vice president by acclamation.
Messengers approved a $1,826,600 budget for 1998, a 5.5 percent increase over the current budget. In estimated Cooperative Program giving of $104,000 for the coming year from the two-state convention’s 137 churches and missions, encompassing more than 15,000 members, a 26 percent allocation is maintained for Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries in North America and internationally.
The Minnesota/Wisconsin resolution noted McLaughlin, who led the BGCT state missions commission for 22 years until his retirement in 1987, was “a great friend to us, helped recruit workers and financial help for the infant Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention” and “continued to be an encourager and supporter of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention during his entire career with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and throughout his retirement.”
McLaughlin delivered the charge to the convention at its organizational meeting in November 1983.
The resolution urged gifts of appreciation be made to the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Foundation in his honor.
On the religious freedom of Jews, the convention’s resolution noted, “We as Christians believe the Messiah has come and that we should seek to preserve and protect the religious freedom and personal safety of Jews in this nation and in the world population as a whole.”
The convention declared, “(We) publicly repent of our sins of indifference and complacency in the face of religious and ethnic persecution, both in the past and in the present; and … we pray that those who practice and actively involve themselves in any form of bigotry and/or any form of prejudice will repent of their sin and seek faith in Christ Jesus.”
Messengers instructed that the resolution be forward to the 153rd Southern Baptist Convention next June in Salt Lake City.
Among other resolutions, the convention endorsed the Nov. 16 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, noting “approximately 300-500 Christians (are) executed for their faith each day” and “approximately 200,000 Christians in the world … will be jailed or imprisoned for their faith in Jesus in 1998.” Also: “In certain countries, the reigning governments are trying to systematically eradicate or suppress the entire Christian population.”
Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 29-31 at the Radisson Hotel’s convention center, Duluth, Minn.

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  • David Williams