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Motion-makers reflect SBC’s growing multiculturalism

PHOENIX (BP)–Motions made during the June 17-18 Southern Baptist Convention at the Phoenix Civic Center reflected the increasingly multicultural face of the denomination and its desire for the Gospel’s global impact.

Of the 15 motions presented to the messengers, three were from people of other than European ancestry. One pointed to Middle Easterners; another to internationals connected to educational institutions. The third requested New York City as a meeting site for an upcoming SBC annual meeting.

Cleveland also was requested as a convention site.

Other motion topics: military chaplaincy endorsements, six-day creation, support for the nation’s president, and financial/business matters relating to the SBC annual meeting.

Jama Bishara, pastor of First Arabic Baptist Church in Phoenix, moved that the SBC “increase its attention and funding for Middle Eastern immigrant ministries, specifically in the areas of church planting and evangelism, with greater attention and support for this overlooked area — amongst these many Middle Eastern immigrants and potential future missionaries.”

Jack Graham, SBC president who moderated the proceedings, thanked Bishara for his motion and his “heart to reach people.”

The motion was referred to the SBC’s North American Mission Board.

Lawson Lau, pastor of All Nations Baptist Church in Urbana, Ill., moved that the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board work together to “bring the Gospel of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, to an estimated two million international students, scholars and their families residing in the United States — as a Spirit-led response to our heavenly Father, who in His sovereignty has brought people from every nation in the world to the doorstep of Southern Baptists.”

The motion also was referred to NAMB.

Ben Brazal, pastor of King of Kings Christian Fellowship in the Bronx, N.Y., moved that New York City be the site of the 2008 annual meeting of the SBC.

“New York is the center of world attention due to 9/11,” Brazal noted in writing out his motion. “The SBC may capitalize on this reality to call attention to the spiritual needs of New Yorkers and the whole country.”

The motion was referred to the SBC’s Executive Committee, as was a motion by Bob Mackey of Parma (Ohio) Baptist Church that Cleveland be selected as the host city for the SBC annual meeting in 2010.

Navy chaplain Al Hill of First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., moved that “ordination to pastoral ministry by a cooperating Southern Baptist church shall be a requirement for endorsement as a military chaplain in the United States Army, Navy or Air Force.”

The motion was referred to NAMB.

A motion by Bobby D. Greene of Beulah Baptist Church in Kents Stone, Va., for the SBC to “focus our awareness one Sunday each year on six-day creation and the Worldwide Flood” was referred to the SBC’s Executive Committee.

Wiley Drake, pastor of First Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., brought two motions. First, he moved that the SBC “allow five minutes for Crusade Radio to give a report to this convention on the presidential prayer team … and to allow a five-minute report as an annual part of our support for the seated president of the United States.”

The motion was ruled to be not in order because under SBC Bylaw 2 the presentation of non-convention causes must be recognized and approved by officers of the convention, reported Gen. T.C. Pinckney for the Committee on Order of Business.

Drake also moved that the 2003 annual meeting of the SBC set aside Bylaw 20 to “allow resolutions from the floor and discussed [sic] during the annual convention meeting.”

The motion was ruled out of order because “Bylaw 20 cannot be suspended,” Pinckney explained.

In motions related to financial concerns, Brian Kaylor of Union Mound Baptist Church in Elkland, Mo., moved that “the messengers of the convention in session at Phoenix, Ariz., on June 17-18, 2003, vote to instruct the Executive Committee of the SBC and its agencies and institutions to accept all financial gifts and contributions from all Baptist individuals, churches, associations, groups, organizations, and conventions.”

Kaylor was invited to rewrite his motion to “request” from “instruct.” At the next session, his motion then was referred to all SBC entities.

Greg Hyler of River Valley Community Church in Lebanon, N.H., moved that a special one-time offering be taken in July “for funding the International Mission Board and specifically the missionaries waiting appointment.” The motion was referred to the Executive Committee.

Tim Stroud of Third Creek Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., moved that “the Baptist World Alliance allocation … of $300,000 be increased or restored to $425,000, which is the same amount we approved last year for the 2002-03 year.”

The motion, carried over for discussion at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday, ultimately failed by an overwhelming majority.

Roy Davis, pastor of North Shreve Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., moved that the convention in Phoenix be hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas. During the Wednesday evening session he corrected himself by saying he had meant to say San Antonio.

The motion was ruled out of order because “the Southern Baptist Convention and state conventions are separate and autonomous bodies,” Pinckney explained. “State conventions do not host the annual Southern Baptist Convention and could not be directed to serve as host.”

Todd Benkert of Charlestown Road Southern Baptist Church in New Albany, Ind., moved that resolutions “be provided to the messengers at least one session prior to their consideration.” In a change from other responses, Pinckney said, “It has been the convention’s longstanding practice to refer certain types of motions, especially those that would affect bylaws. This type of referral is not automatic and must be voted on by the messengers.”

The messengers voted for the referral to the Executive Committee. Pinckney said the committee members were sensitive to the concerns of the messengers, but needed to adhere to convention bylaws.

Paul Blizard of Memorial Baptist Church in Beckley, W.Va., moved that consideration be given to better seating for the handicapped, and his motion was referred to the Executive Committee.