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Miss. former staffer elected, budget pared

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — A former convention staff member, Douglas Matthew “Matt” Buckles Sr., was elected as the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s president during the Oct. 29-30 annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Jackson.

Messengers approved a 2014 Mississippi Baptist Cooperative Program budget of $31,621,435, a decrease of 2.2 percent from the 2013 budget. The challenge portion — any gifts above the established budget — will be shared pro-rata by the entire budget.

The 2013 sessions drew a total of 889 messengers.

Buckles, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Vicksburg, was the lone nomination for president, made by Barry Corbett, pastor of First Baptist Church in Kosciusko. Buckles replaces David Hamilton, pastor of West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc, who completed two terms as president and was not eligible for reelection.

Buckles is a former consultant and director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board’s church administration/pastoral leadership department (1990-2004). He pastored five Mississippi churches from 1976-91 and served 14 interim pastorates while at the convention board.

Buckles holds doctor of ministry (1989) and master of divinity (1980) degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; a bachelor of arts (1978) degree from Mississippi College in Clinton; and an associate of arts degree (1976) from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson.

He and his wife Karen, married 36 years, have two adult children and one grandchild.

Joining Buckles in leading the convention for the coming year are:

— first vice president, Joe Pate, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenwood (second term). Pate won a ballot with Gary Wyatt, pastor of North Morton Baptist Church in Morton, in the only contested race. The final vote total was not announced.

— second vice president, Donnie Stuart, pastor of Rock Bluff Baptist Church in Daniel (second term), the lone nominee.

— recording secretary, Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Olive Branch, and associate recording secretary, Jerry Bingham, missions director for the Benton-Tippah Baptist Association in Ripley.

In addition to Hamilton’s presidential address at the Oct. 29 morning session, the convention sermon was preached by Chip Stevens, pastor of First Baptist Church in Starkville, during the afternoon session. Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, provided the evening session’s message, and Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Church, Lutz, Fla., provided the Oct. 30 morning session’s message. The Bible Treasures series of devotionals was provided by Charles Carter, pastor emeritus of Shades Mountain Church in Birmingham, Al., and former interim pastor of First Baptist, Jackson.

Messengers approved First Baptist in Jackson to again host next year’s annual meeting, Oct. 28-29. Mark Vincent, pastor of Clarke Venable Church in Decatur, will preach the convention sermon, with Ronnie Falvey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Madison, as the alternate.
William H. Perkins Jr. is editor of the Baptist Record, newsjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

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