JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — Messengers to the Mississippi Baptist Convention unanimously passed a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that would have defined human life as beginning at conception.
The resolution, passed during the 176th annual meeting Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church in Jackson, called on Mississippi Baptists to vote yes on the Personhood Amendment in the statewide general election Nov. 8.
The initiative was defeated by a margin of 58-42 percent despite being expected to pass just days earlier.
David Hamilton, pastor of West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc, was elected president of the convention.
Matt Buckles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Vicksburg, was elected first vice president, and Chris Aldridge, pastor of Freedonia Baptist Church in New Albany, was reelected second vice president in a ballot with Andy Fullington, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Sontag. Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Olive Branch, was reelected recording secretary.
The theme of the annual meeting was “Telling the Story: A Life, A Cross, A Tomb, A Living Lord.” The official messenger count was 948, down from the 1,025 messengers who attended last year’s annual meeting.
Messengers approved a 2012 budget of $32,329,059, a 2 percent decrease from the current year. Mississippi Baptists will forward 36.25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts for national and international missions and ministries, up from 35.25 percent in 2011.
In addition to the resolution on the Personhood Amendment, messengers expressed appreciation to First Baptist Jackson for hosting the meeting; recognized Bettye Rogers Coward, the first woman president of Baptist-affiliated Blue Mountain College, who will retire next June; and marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of the first Baptist congregation on English soil by Thomas Helwys and a small band of believers in London.
James Lewis, pastor of DeSoto Hills Baptist Church in Southaven, delivered the convention sermon. Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., preached during the closing session. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, provided devotionals.
The Mississippi Baptist Convention includes 2,127 churches with a membership of more than 697,000. The most recent U.S. Census estimated the total population of the state at nearly 3 million people.
Next year’s annual meeting of the Mississippi Baptist Convention will be Oct. 30-31 at First Baptist Church in Jackson.
William H. Perkins Jr. is editor of the Baptist Record, newsjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.