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New Englanders focus on missions, welcome new executive director

BURLINGTON, Vt. (BP)–A missions celebration and banquet highlighted the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New England, Nov. 8-9 at the Clarion Hotel in Burlington, Vt.

Additionally, 156 messengers also welcomed the convention’s new executive director, James Wideman, who previously has been director of missions for Vermont’s Green Mountain Baptist Association.

“There was a sweet spirit at the convention,” Wideman said. “We had such a focus on missions and evangelism.”

Under the theme, “A New Vision for a New Day,” messengers approved a $2,766,364 balanced budget for 2002. The budget marks a 2 percent increase over 2001. The BCNE will send 21 percent of its Cooperative Program receipts to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries, the same percentage as last year. The convention also expects to receive $1.7 million in ministry support from the North American Mission Board.

Tim Christian, pastor of Island Pond Baptist Church, Hampstead, N.H., was elected president of the convention by acclamation as were Mark Ballard, pastor of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, Londonderry, N.H., as first vice president; D.J. Omarkhail, pastor at Faith Baptist Church, Carver, Mass., second vice president; and Sandy Coelho, layperson from Faith Baptist Church, Carver, Mass., recording secretary.

SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Morris H. Chapman was the convention’s closing speaker.

Wideman said all seven associations in the BCNE were given an opportunity to highlight their ministries. Following the presentation, messengers prayed for the convention’s associations.

At a missions banquet, messengers were introduced to a number of pastors from the 18 new churches started last year by the convention and to new directors of Baptist Collegiate Ministries at campuses across the convention. John Yarbrough, vice president for evangelization with NAMB, shared new evangelism initiatives at the banquet.

Messengers also approved a resolution remembering those killed and injured during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and western Pennsylvania.

The BCNE includes 230 churches in seven associations in six states.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 7-8 at Rice Memorial Baptist Church, Northboro, Mass.

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