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N.Y. Baptists mourn a death, celebrate 2 new partnerships

CORNING, N.Y. (BP)–A death and two births were the focus of the Baptist Convention of New York’s 34th annual session in Corning, N.Y.

Just a few days before the Nov. 6-7 annual meeting, Gracie Graham, mother of Executive Director J.B. Graham, died, preventing Graham from attending the sessions. However, the births of two missions partnerships — one with the Georgia Baptist Convention and another with the Illinois Baptist State Association — highlighted the most well-attended state convention in BCNY history.

Hosted by the Finger Lakes Baptist Association, the convention drew a record 148 messengers and 64 visitors to the Radisson Hotel in Corning, representing the 22,000 members of the BCNY.

Messengers voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as the statement of faith for the state convention, enacted by amending the state convention’s constitution.

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By acclamation, Jerry Lepasana, pastor of Bible Church International in Garfield, N.J., was re-elected BCNY president for a second term and Taylor Field, pastor of East Seventh Street Baptist Church in New York City, was re-elected first vice president. The incumbent second vice president Mike McCoy, pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in New Windsor, was elected over Al Weeks, pastor of Richville Baptist Church. David Shepherd, a member of Trinity Baptist Church in Niskayuna, N.Y., was re-elected recording secretary for a fourth term by acclamation.

Messengers also approved a 2004 budget of $3,357,412, a decrease from last year’s $3.36 million budget. The convention anticipates $750,000 in Cooperative Program gifts from the churches, with Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions causes to be allocated 26 percent of the receipts — a half-percent-of-receipts increase over last year.

With the theme “Celebrating Oneness in Christ,” messengers unanimously passed two resolutions, one memorializing Gracie Graham and the other honoring Jim and Virginia Goforth, who will be leaving New York and moving to Texas as Jim retires in January from his 12-year tenure as associational missionary for the Adirondack Baptist Association.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 4-5 in a yet-to-be selected location in the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association.
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Bonnie Novak is editor of the New York Baptist.