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Miss. Baptists elect first Hispanic officer

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–Messengers to the Mississippi Baptist Convention made history Oct. 26 when they elected by acclamation the convention’s first Hispanic officer in Joel Medina, bivocational pastor of Iglesia Internacional Las Americas in Carthage.

Medina will serve as second vice president for the coming year, replacing Archie Herrin, director of mission for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Columbia, who had served two terms and was not eligible for re-election. Medina was nominated by Chris Carter, pastor of Madden (Miss.) Baptist Church. Messengers re-elected Gene Henderson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Brandon, to a second term as president, also by acclamation. Henderson was nominated by U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Charles Pickering, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Laurel.

Thad Moore, pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian was re-elected by acclamation to a second term as first vice president. Moore also delivered the convention sermon, from Philippians 1:12. Gus Merritt, retired pastor of Clarke Venable Baptist Church in Decatur, was re-elected recording secretary.

The official messenger registration count for the meeting, held each year at First Baptist Church in Jackson, was 1,236, a decline of 177 messengers from the 2003 meeting.

In response to a motion from the 2003 annual meeting that proposed messengers adopt the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 statement of Southern Baptist beliefs, Ken Anderson, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Clinton and chairman of the constitution and bylaws committee, read the following statement on behalf of the committee:

“I move that the Mississippi Baptist Convention reaffirm their historical position that the Word of God is our standard of faith and practice, and recognize that the Baptist Faith and Message can serve as a guide for understanding and teaching Baptist doctrine.”

Speaking in favor of Anderson’s motion was Lowell Ingram, who proposed the original 2003 motion. Ingram is director of missions for Noxubee Baptist Association in Macon. There was no opposition voiced, and the motion passed.

Messengers approved without dissent a 2005 Mississippi Baptist Cooperative Program budget of $31,314,491, a 1.49 percent increase over the current year’s budget. The portion of the budget going to Southern Baptist Convention causes remains steady at 35 percent.

Resolutions approved by messengers included:

— Support for constitutional amendments on a number of ballots around the country that limit the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. The resolution was proposed by Charles Davis, director of mission for the Pike Baptist Association in McComb.

— Setting aside of the first Tuesday of each month as a time of prayer and fasting for revival in America. The resolution was proposed by Paul Spradley, a messenger from Second Baptist Church, Indianola; Roy Clark, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Indianola; and Russell Mord, pastor of Sturgis (Miss.) Baptist Church.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist, Jackson, with Mickey Dalrymple, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Columbus, to deliver the convention sermon.

    About the Author

  • William H. Perkins Jr.