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Ohio Baptists focus on Akron, endorse SBC beliefs statement

AKRON, Ohio (BP)–The Impact 2001 emphasis of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio – boosting churches in the Akron-area Summit Baptist Association — brought 392 messengers and 129 visitors to Ohio Baptists’ Nov. 7-8 annual meeting.

Welcomes were extended to the convention by Martin Jones, Summit’s associational missionary, along with a member of the Akron City Council. Pastor Mark Smith and the praise team of First Baptist Church in Aurora led the worship and praise segments of the convention, held at Akron’s Quaker Square Crown Plaza Hotel.

Guy Morton, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Vermilion, was convention president in a ballot with David Hill, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Springfield, while Bill Hounshell, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Loveland, was elected first vice president in a ballot with Bob Mackey, pastor of Parma Baptist Church in Cleveland. Jerome Byrd, pastor of Good News Baptist Church in Cincinnati, was re-elected second vice president, while Faye Rodgers, a member of First Southern Baptist Church in North Canton, was elected recording secretary.

Messengers approved a motion from the convention’s missions council to endorse the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000. The vote followed an unsuccessful motion by Dick Marshall, a layman from the Ridgewood Baptist Church in Wadsworth, to reject the SBC statement of beliefs, to which he voiced concerns about credalism and the exclusion of people who do not endorse the 2000 BF&M. A motion to table the council’s recommendation, made Grady Evans, a member of Delaware Baptist Church, also was defeated before the final vote.

A 2000 budget of $7,769,980 was approved, a 3.3 percent increase over the current year. The budget includes anticipated Cooperative Program giving by Ohio’s 524 congregations and 103 new starts of $5,889,226, of which 40 percent will continue to be allocated for SBC national and international missions and ministries.

In a resolution about hope, messengers noted that “our way of life and freedom were violently attacked on September 11, 2001,” yet the tragic events have “driven many in our nation to our knees in prayer.” The convention pledged “to pray continually for our president, national leaders, injured victims, grieving families, military and those in harms way” and to respond to “the climate for witnessing opportunities,” calling people “to the real hope found in the true and living God.”

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 6-7 at First Baptist Church of South Lebanon.

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  • Will Pollard