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N.E. Baptists elect Kim as first Korean convention president

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (BP)–New England Baptists elected their first non-Anglo president and the first Korean president of a state convention during their 23rd annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New England, Nov. 10-11 at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Londonderry, N.H.

Paul Kim, founding pastor of Berkland Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., was elected president without opposition.

Named a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary distinguished alumnus in 2004 for his work in church planting, Kim also serves as a trustee with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Kim’s ministry began with the foundation of Berkland Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif., and moved east when he and other church members felt called to plant a church in the heart of Boston’s university community.

As president of the New England convention, Kim said he hopes to plant more churches among students.

“I want to focus on church planting,” he said. “There are six states represented in the convention, but only 241 churches. By doing church planting in the area, we will focus on campus ministry among the university community.”

Tommy Oliver, founding pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Stratham, N.H., was elected vice president. There were no other nominations.

With the theme “Acts 1:8: Creating a Missional Mindset,” representatives from each of the convention’s seven associations shared throughout the meeting about the joys and challenges of the work in their particular regions. And one-minute video vignettes focusing on new church plants throughout New England added to the missional focus of the convention.

“Missional is being missions active,” Jim Wideman, BCNE executive director, said. “It means doing missions rather than just studying about and giving to missions. My dream and desire for the BCNE is that we become a convention of missional, Kingdom-focused churches who choose to row with the current of the Kingdom of God by obeying the Acts 1:8 command to go to their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.”

Ken Hemphill, national strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth, brought the closing message with a strong emphasis on advancing the Kingdom of God.

A report on the convention’s involvement with disaster relief brought to the forefront the impact New England Baptists have had in the Gulf Coast region and in New England in response to Hurricane Katrina and other calamities. The BCNE assisted with providing meals to evacuees brought to Massachusetts following Katrina, and later as storms hit several locations across New England, Baptist teams were out assisting with cleanup locally.

More than 400 New England Baptists have been trained in disaster relief during the past two months. Four teams have traveled to Slidell, La., to assist with cleanup, and additional teams are scheduled to go in the weeks to come.

In addition to going, BCNE churches have given more than $205,000 to assist with the Gulf Coast disaster relief efforts. A matching gift of $110,000 from the Cecil B. Day Foundation, which supports Christian causes in New England and the South, raised the total to $315,000.

Cal Bankston, pastor of Faith Church in Mendon, Mass., challenged messengers to be prepared with one question: “When disaster hits in my community, how can we as a congregation respond to the needs of people?”

Messengers unanimously passed a 2006 BCNE budget of $2,825,417, which represents a 5 percent increase and the first increase in more than five years. The convention anticipates Cooperative Program receipts from churches will be $770,259, and 21 percent of the CP budget will continue to be forwarded to national and international missions and ministries.

One resolution, passed unanimously, recognized the members of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church for their hospitality as hosts.

A total of 140 messengers and 52 visitors were counted.

First Brazilian Baptist Church of Greater Boston was presented with the Raymond C. Allen Award for Excellence in Missions and Evangelism. The congregation held six evangelism outreaches in 2005, recording 260 decisions to accept Christ and baptizing 45 individuals. The church is active in missions locally and overseas, and this year they sponsored a new church with a heart to reach second-generation Brazilians and other English speakers in Boston.

First Brazilian also is active in leadership development, utilizing Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and cell groups. The church is active in its missions giving, sending $8,400 to the Greater Boston Association, $5,000 to the BCNE state mission offering and $11,400 to the Cooperative Program last year.

The 2006 meeting of the Baptist Convention of New England will be Nov. 9-11 at New Colony Baptist Church in Billerica, Mass.

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