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N.Y. Baptists reject name change, increase CP

HENRIETTA, N.Y. (BP) — Messengers to the Baptist Convention of New York voted not to change the convention’s name and asked the body’s executive board to report next year on “the best plan to significantly increase” BCNY giving to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.

Gathered Sept. 27-29 at All Nations Church in Henrietta, N.Y., messengers also voted to increase the portion of Cooperative Program receipts forwarded to SBC causes by 2.5 percentage points. In addition to 83 registered messengers, 23 guests were present for a total of 44 churches represented.

At last year’s annual meeting, messenger Edwin Attaway of First Christian Church in Brushton, N.Y., proposed that the BCNY’s constitution be amended to change its name to The Great Commission Baptists of the Northeast, a name he said would better reflect the presence of cooperating churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, northern New Jersey and New York. Messengers voted at the time to refer the motion to the executive board for consideration at this year’s annual meeting.

After discussing the proposal, the executive board recommended the convention’s name not be changed — a recommendation messengers accepted without opposition. BCNY executive director Terry Robertson told Baptist Press at least three factors contributed to the convention’s decision:

— Some New York Baptists did not believe “adequate thought” had been given to the name change and were “not ready to give up the Baptist Convention of New York name.”

— The convention’s attorney, in light of nuances in New York state law, advised against retaining the current legal name while doing business as The Great Commission Baptists of the Northeast. Some New York Baptists had suggested that using both names would be the most effective way of accomplishing the change.

— The proposed name change “could have been confusing” to churches that cooperate with either the Baptist Convention of New England or the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania-South Jersey.

Robertson said the issue of a name change likely will arise again, particularly in light of concerns about the current name among some of the approximately 80 cooperating churches in Northern New Jersey, eight in Connecticut and two in Massachusetts.

Also during a business session, messenger Sean Pierce from River of Life Church in Guilderland, N.Y., moved that messengers “ask the executive board to report back to this body next year the best plan to significantly increase our giving to the SBC, including the possibility of dramatically increasing the percent we send on over the next few years.” The motion was adopted by a voice vote.

In other business, the convention adopted a 2016 budget of $2,070,400, an increase of 12.11 percent from the current year.

Included in the 2016 budget: $752,000 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from BCNY churches, for 36 percent of the budget; $1,235,000 in anticipated funding from the North American Mission Board; and $60,000 anticipated from LifeWay Christian Resources.

The convention will forward 27.5 percent of CP receipts to the SBC’s national and international missions and ministries, up from 25 percent in 2015. The budget includes no shared expenses with the SBC.

Re-elected as the convention’s 2015-16 officers were: president, Scott Gillette of Amherst Baptist Church in Amherst, N.Y.; vice president, Brian Robinson of Fillmore Community Church in Buffalo, N.Y.; recording secretary, Van McClain of Grace Community Chapel in Ballston Spa, N.Y.; and assistant recording secretary, Matt Evans of New Life Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Dan Trippie, pastor of Restoration Church in Buffalo, delivered the annual sermon. Worship was led by Travis Blye, worship leader at Northside Baptist Church in Liverpool, N.Y.

Among the annual meeting’s guest speakers were Ashley Clayton, vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship at the SBC Executive Committee; an International Mission Board missionary who cannot be identified for security reasons; Steve Cantor of the North American Mission Board; Don McLeod of GuideStone Financial Resources; and Ken Welborn, founder and president of Foreign Service Fellowship International.

Next year’s annual meeting will be held Sept. 25-27 at Word of Life Conference Center in Schroon Lake, N.Y., with a theme of “being relevant in a hostile world.”

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