News Articles

Officer elections the only contests amid Miss. convention’s unity

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–Mississippi Baptists, during their 164th annual convention at First Baptist Church, Jackson, Oct. 26-27, elected Kermit McGregor, pastor of First Baptist Church, Mendenhall, in a runoff as their president, unanimously adopted a $28 million Cooperative Program budget for year 2000 and passed resolutions recognizing a longtime state leader and a student summer missionary who gave his life in service to others.
The 1,360 registered messengers reversed a several-year trend of dwindling attendance. Registration in 1998 had been 1,304. This year’s convention theme was “Celebrating God’s Timeless Word.”
Other than officer elections, absolutely no business matter was contested, as Mississippi Baptists continued their practice of unity in business and worship. An apt proposed resolution, turned in too late for consideration, but read by President Dean Register, urged messengers to “take time to know and love everyone that God puts in our path.”
McGregor defeated Jim Butler, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Southaven, in a runoff, 446-281, to succeed Register, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, Hattiesburg, who served two one-year terms.
Also nominated for the presidency was Van D. Quick, recently retired as vice president for alumni and student affairs at Mississippi College. That first vote was McGregor, 398; Butler, 357; and Quick, 296.
McGregor has served as pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton; Temple Baptist Church, Hattiesburg; First Baptist Church, Bruce; Ingomar Baptist Church, New Albany; Thompson Baptist Church, Smithdale; Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Dumas; and New Hope Baptist Church, Pontotoc.
He has chaired trustees of the Baptist Children’s Village, the Mississippi Education Commission, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. And he was president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, 1996-97. A Pontotoc County native, he is a graduate of Blue Mountain College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
William “Bill” Smith, director of missions for the Lee County Baptist Association, was elected first vice president and Dale Holloway of Florence, pastor of Hickory Ridge Baptist Church in Rankin County and retired national bivocational ministry consultant for Southern Baptists, was elected second vice president.
Smith defeated Bill Hurt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Canton, 397-287. Holloway defeated Leroy Brewer, pastor of First Baptist Church, Fannin, 305-180.
Re-elected by acclamation were recording secretary, Gus Merritt of Newton, and associate recording secretary Michael Weeks of Olive Branch.
The Cooperative Program budget for the year 2000 passed with no discussion by messengers. The budget is a 5.55 percent increase over the 1999 budget of $26,607,890.
Of the $28,083,349 budget, 37 percent, or $10,390,839, goes to Southern Baptist causes. Home mission work in Mississippi receives $265,440 of that amount. Also, a special fund for unreached nations, international partnership missions and North American partnership missions each receive a half percent of the budget, or $140,417.
The convention’s matching portion of the Church Annuity program is $810,000.
The Convention Board portion of the budget totaled $9,786,135, or 34.85 percent of the total budget.
Mississippi institutions and agencies, meanwhile, will receive $7,096,375, or 25.27 percent. Those are Baptist Children’s Village, $505,740; Board of Ministerial Education, $357,114; Christian Action Commission, $283,778; Christian Education (divided among the three Baptist colleges), $4,868,400; Christian Education Capital Needs, $650,000; and the Historical Commission, $54,330.
Mississippi Baptist Health Systems and Baptist Memorial Health Care System (which Mississippi owns along with Tennessee and Arkansas) asked for and received no Cooperative Program funds.
A resolution honored L. Gordon Sansing for 67 years in the ministry. In addition to numerous pastorates, Sansing served at associate executive secretary of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
Sansing’s son, Gordon, chairman of the resolutions committee, read the resolution. Gus Merritt of Newton moved that the 1999 convention annual be dedicated to Sansing. That motion carried unanimously.
And a resolution was passed honoring the life and ministry of John Wesley Weems, who died this summer at age 21 while serving as a Baptist Student Union summer missionary in Mexico.
The resolution stated that Weems, a student at Delta State University, after escaping a strong undertow while swimming at a Tapachula beach, “went back into the water to help others, and in so doing, gave his own life … .”
Register named the 2000 Committee on Committees: Gene Henderson, First Baptist Church, Brandon, chair; P.J. Scott, First Baptist Church, Olive Branch; David Williams, New Hope Baptist Church, Monticello; Johnny Walker, First Baptist Church, Winona; and Wayne Van Horn, First Baptist Church, Columbia.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at First Baptist Church, Jackson.

    About the Author

  • Tim Nicholas