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Montana messengers push for full convention status

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (BP)–As the Montana Southern Baptist Fellowship continues working toward full convention status, messengers to the annual meeting of the fellowship were briefed on the latest requirements, reported Jim Edlin, director of communications of the MSBF.

Eduardo Docampo of the North American Mission Board delivered a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation on the requirements to become a state convention during the Oct. 9-11 annual meeting in Great Falls.

“We had anticipated voting to become a full-fledged state convention but because of some new changes everything is in limbo,” Edlin said.

Under the theme, “2001-A Space Odyssey,” messengers charted a course toward next year’s 50th anniversary of organized Baptist work in Montana by unanimously approving a 5.7 percent increase over the current year’s budget of $1,319,375.

The Montana convention anticipates Cooperative Program giving $435,000, an increase of $48,000 over last year’s $387,000. Of that amount, 22 percent will continue to be given to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program.

In other MSBF action, President Joe Pickard was reelected without opposition. Pickard is director of the Jeremiah Learning Center, a ministry outreach in Billings.

Others elected as officers: Michael Kauffold, pastor of First Baptist Church, Wolf Point, vice president; and Bert Murphy, a member of First Southern Baptist Church, Great Falls, recording secretary. Tony Hatzenbeuhler, pastor of Valley Baptist Church, Huntley, was elected president of the Pastors’ Conference, with Bruce Cannon, pastor of Blue Creek Baptist Church, Billings, as vice president.

Delma Evans, Doris Clifton and Betty Findley were elected president, vice president and secretary/historian, respectfully, of Montana’s Woman’s Missionary Union.

The 82 messengers who registered for the convention represented 58 churches. Counting guests, an estimated 150 people were in attendance. Montana has 126 churches and missions. Last year’s annual church profile showed the state fellowship had 12,232 total members and 8,916 resident members.

Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., was the convention’s primary speaker.

Next year’s convention will be Oct. 2-3 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Billings. Emmanuel was the first Southern Baptist Church organized in the state.

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