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N.Y. Baptists launch 50th year, increase CP

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (BP) — Messengers to the Baptist Convention of New York increased giving to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries for the fourth year in a row and heard a report on the sale of the convention’s office building in East Syracuse, N.Y.

The BCNY also kicked off its 50th year of ministry and approved creation of a team to cast vision for the future. A total of 82 messengers from 56 churches attended the Sept. 23-25 sessions at Trinity Baptist Church in Niskayuna, just northwest of Albany.

The BCNY building was sold in July for $215,000, the convention’s Executive Board reported. The purchase by a Syracuse real estate company included an agreement allowing the BCNY to lease the building’s lower floor through September 2019, with a month-to-month lease available thereafter.

“In recognition of the changes driven by the sale of the building” among other factors, the Executive Board reported, a task force was appointed in April to launch a strategic planning process for the BCNY. That task force recommended to messengers formation of a 17-member Vision and Planning Team (VPT) to propose a revamped strategy and structure for the convention. The VPT was approved unanimously by messengers and will present its recommendations at the 2019 BCNY annual meeting.

Jack Kwok, executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, one the BCNY’s parent conventions, presented a plaque honoring the BCNY’s 50th year of ministry. Kwok also preached from Philippians 3:13-14.

BCNY executive director Terry Robertson referenced the convention’s 50th anniversary — to be called the “year of jubilee” — in his written report to messengers.

“In 1969, the Baptist Convention of New York was organized,” Robertson wrote. “Almost simultaneous efforts were undertaken in New England and Pennsylvania/South Jersey to birth those conventions. The birth of these three conventions was intended to draw attention and resources of Southern Baptists to the need: (1) To reach lost people, (2) To start new churches, and (3) To advance the Kingdom of God in a region once known for Great Awakenings, but now in 2018, seen as a sea of lostness.”

In other business, the convention adopted a 2019 budget of $933,800, including a 3.94 percent increase from the current year in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from churches.

Included in the 2019 budget: $815,000 in anticipated CP giving from BCNY churches, for 87 percent of the budget; $50,000 in anticipated funding from the North American Mission Board; and $60,000 anticipated from LifeWay Christian Resources.

The convention will forward 29.5 percent of CP receipts to the SBC’s national and international missions and ministries, up from 29 percent in 2018, 28.5 percent in 2017 and 27.5 percent in 2016. The budget includes no shared expenses with the SBC.

Elected as convention officers were: president, Bruce Aubrey, pastor of Northside Church in Liverpool, N.Y., and vice president, Alberto Camacho, pastor of The Rock Church in West Haverstraw, N.Y.

The convention reelected recording secretary Van McClain, pastor of Perry Road Baptist Church in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and assistant recording secretary Matt Evans, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, N.Y. None of the officer elections was contested.

Jim Guenther, pastor of Open Door Church in Lee, Mass., delivered the annual sermon.

In addition to Kwok, the meeting’s other guest speakers included Roger S. Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations at the SBC Executive Committee, and Michael Spradlin, president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Sept. 22-24 at Northside Baptist Church in Liverpool, N.Y.