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N.Y. Baptists greet Gulf Coast residents & hear their stories

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AMHERST, N.Y. (BP)–New York Baptists highlighted the theme “One People One Purpose” at their 37th annual meeting by welcoming guests from the Gulf Coast region, where New York volunteers helped rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

A video of the devastation was shown at the convention, and a special offering was taken for the guests. An ice cream social was given in their honor as a time for New York Baptists to visit with the families and hear their stories.

Meeting at Amherst Baptist Church in Amherst Sept. 24-26, the Baptist Convention of New York registered 127 messengers from 54 of its 427 churches and church plants. Total attendance, including guests, was 212.

More than 25 workshops were offered, covering topics such as outreach, missions, staff, church and ministry-related issues, church growth, prayer and practical help. The workshops were facilitated by BCNY staff members, New York pastors and church members and guests from Southern Baptist Convention entities.

Elected as convention officers were Ted Harvey, pastor of Somerset Hills Baptist Church in Basking Ridge, N.J., president; Rick Wilburn, pastor of Tupper Lake Baptist Church in Tupper Lake, N.Y., first vice president; William Page, pastor of Terrill Road Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, N.Y, second vice president; and David Shepherd, director of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary’s northeast branch in Schenectady, recording secretary.

Messengers approved an overall budget of $3.4 million for 2007, an increase of under 1 percent from the current budget. Anticipated Cooperative Program giving from New York churches is $858,268, with the state convention to increase the percentage forwarded for national and international missions and ministries from 26.75 percent to 27 percent.

During his address, Terry Robertson, the convention’s executive director, urged messengers to be ready to respond when God stirs the nest. Just six days after the meeting, more than 20 inches of snow hammered the area where the convention was held. The damage was extensive, with loss of electrical power, impassable roads, flooded homes and downed trees. Disaster relief teams from across the nation were activated and remained until mid-November. With God stirring the nest of New York Baptists, residents of the region were helped, a number of decisions for Christ were made and new workers were trained in disaster relief.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Sept. 23-25, hosted by the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association.

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