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Northwest Baptists celebrate unity of regional network of churches

PASCO, Wash. (BP)–Messengers to the 55th annual meeting of the Northwest Baptist Convention at the WestCoast Hotel in Pasco, Wash., Nov. 12-13 highlighted this year’s theme, “Your Church On Mission to the World.”

After hearing reports of convention churches being “on mission,” NWBC President Kevin White noted, “To see all that is being done in missions thrilled me. I look forward to the future of the NWBC and seeing God’s Kingdom grow.”

NWBC Executive Director Jeff Iorg commended the leadership of the churches for their spirit of cooperation and unity.

“It was amazing to me that, without being asked or prompted, almost every speaker promoted the Cooperative Program,” Iorg said. “The morale of our convention is high. I thank God for the unity and purpose we are showing as a regional network of churches on mission together.”

In an unchallenged presidential election, Kevin White, pastor of First Baptist Church in Longview, Wash., was re-elected president.

Other nominees were elected with unopposition for first vice president, Rickey Scott, pastor of Riviera Baptist Church in Eugene, Ore., and second vice president, Dan Brandel, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

Messengers also adopted a revised $5.215 million 2003 budget, up about $50,000 from 2002. The portion of the budget designated for the Cooperative Program missions and ministries, $2.825 million, will continue to be divided 68 percent for Northwest convention causes and 32 percent for Southern Baptist national and international causes.

The Northwest Baptist Foundation presented a surprise check for $50,000 to the Northwest Baptist Convention.

“The foundation was projected to have a surplus in our unrestricted assets at the end of 2002,” said Tom Hixson, president of the Northwest Baptist Foundation. “While this will not eliminate the total deficit for the convention, this will go a long way to make any further cuts less painful.

“It is my firm belief and conviction that the foundation only exists to support the convention and the churches,” Hixson continued. “At this time we can make a dramatic impact on the convention.”

In an attempt to bring clarity to the understanding of what it means to be “in cooperation with,” the constitution committee proposed an amendment to Section 3 that defines cooperation as: “a church exemplifies cooperation by contributing through the Cooperative Program, reporting annually to the convention, participating in convention activities and sending messengers to the annual convention.”

In resolutions, the messengers affirmed their Christian responsibility to pray for the president and national and world leaders and to ask for God’s wisdom on their behalf. They also expressed gratitude and prayer support to military personnel and their families during a time of national crisis.

Messengers viewed a video that is a partnership between the Northwest convention, the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board highlighting “The Acts 1:8 Challenge.”

The video, featuring Northwest church, association and convention leaders, will be mailed to the churches along with a brochure, CD, audiotape and other information. The Northwest Baptist Convention has been the pilot convention for the development of the resource package.

Northwest Baptists welcomed 10 new churches into the convention. Three are Korean, three Anglo, one African American, one Filipino, one Slavic and one Ukrainian.

Four hundred thirteen messengers and 88 guests attended this year’s meeting. The 2003 annual convention will be Nov. 11-2 in Eugene, Ore.
Adapted from an article by Ed Ernsting.

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