JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–Gary Richardson, pastor of North Oxford Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss., was elected as the new president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention during the 174th annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Jackson Oct. 27-28.
Richardson succeeds Mickey Dalrymple, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Columbus, who completed his second one-year term as president.
A former president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, Richardson is the son of a longtime Mississippi Baptist pastor, the late James Richardson, and the twin brother of Jay Richardson, pastor of Highland Colony Baptist Church in Ridgeland. His younger brother, Ian Richardson, serves as MBCB communication services director in Jackson.
The new president’s son, John, serves as a church planter at Traceway Baptist Church in Clinton through the state convention’s church planting department.
Rickey Blythe, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Albany, was elected first vice president, having served previously as second vice president, and Paul Crowley, pastor of Woolmarket Baptist Church in Biloxi, was elected second vice president. Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Olive Branch, was re-elected recording secretary. All officers were elected by acclamation.
Facing the realities of the ongoing economic decline, messengers approved without dissent a $34,094,322 budget for 2010 for the ministries of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, 2.42 percent, or $846,307, less than the 2009 budget.
All areas of the budget proportionately reflect decreases, including no salary increases for MBCB staff and more efficiency in administering MBCB program ministries.
The portion of the budget forwarded for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries remains at 35 percent, or $11,933,013.
Resolutions approved by messengers included:
— Opposition to abortion. “Mississippi Baptists affirm all just and legal pro-life efforts that support the biblical principle that all unborn human life are persons,” the resolution states.
— Appreciation and a call to prayer for Mississippi Baptists to continue to faithfully support the Cooperative Program.
The theme of the annual meeting was “Ye shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth …” from Acts 1:8. A total of 931 messengers registered for the meeting, down from the 2008 registered messenger count of 1,039.
— Mississippi native Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board in Richmond, Va.
— Bobby Welch, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and former pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., who delivered the “Bible Treasures” series of devotionals at the meeting. He currently serves as the Southern Baptist Convention’s strategist for global evangelical relations.
— Jim Futral, MBCB executive director, who presented the MBCB Emphasis. He commended Mississippi Baptists for their continued giving during difficult economic times and commended the Cooperative Program for its effectiveness in reaching the lost for Jesus.
— Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, who preached the closing sermon.
— Randy Bostick, pastor of Oakland Baptist Church in Corinth, who delivered the convention sermon.
— Mickey Dalrymple, who presented the president’s address.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 26-27 at First Baptist Church in Jackson.
William H. Perkins Jr. is editor of The Baptist Record, newsjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.