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SBC DIGEST: 2021 SBC Annual now available; GuideStone launches Global Impact Fund


2021 SBC Annual available online, print edition in October

By Scott Barkley

NASHVILLE (BP) – The 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Annual is available in digital form today (Sept. 1), with print editions appearing Oct. 1.

Made available each year, the Annual provides comprehensive information on the SBC and its entities such as ministry reports, budgets and financial statements. It also includes documents related to the Convention, including the charter, constitution, bylaws and the Baptist Faith and Message.

Last year’s Annual was the first in 75 years not to contain proceedings from the annual meeting, due to the meeting’s cancellation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Annual reinserts that information with a point-by-point recap of the gathering June 15-16 in Nashville, including discussions over motions as well as voting results for SBC officers. It also contains the text of both the president’s address, delivered by outgoing SBC President J.D. Greear, and the convention sermon, brought by Willy Rice, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Fla.

In addition, the Annual includes a demographic breakdown of the 2,412 messengers who responded on the SBC mobile app in various categories such as age, travel method, vocation and number of meetings attended. The 2021 SBC Annual Meeting was the largest since 1995, bringing 15,726 registered messengers – plus guests, exhibitors and others – to Nashville’s Music City Center.

The Annual can be accessed at SBC.net. Printed copies will be available on a first-come, first served basis on Oct. 1 by contacting annual@sbc.net.


Global Impact Fund is next frontier of Christian investing for GuideStone Funds

By Roy Hayhurst

DALLAS (BP) – As part of the celebration of GuideStone Funds’ 20th anniversary, the Southern Baptist ministry formally announced its Global Impact Fund. The new Fund, available to pastors in the Church Retirement Plan and for institutional and personal investors, provides the opportunity to own investments in organizations that seek to protect life, promote human dignity and enhance the efficiency and accessibility of life-sustaining resources.

“GuideStone Financial Resources is a 103-year-old Christian entity that was founded to support pastors and their widows,” GuideStone Chief Investment Officer David S. Spika said. “As a result, supporting the growth of God’s kingdom is at the heart of everything we do. Every day, we’re focused on that mission of serving those who serve the Lord.

“The Global Impact Fund aligns with that objective. We want to make sure that our investments are actively promoting the growth of God’s kingdom, that they’re actively promoting the sanctity of life and the spreading of the Gospel.”

Dating back decades, GuideStone has screened its investments, something it continued to do when GuideStone Funds were launched in August 2001. GuideStone does not invest in any company publicly recognized as being in the alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography or abortion industries, or any company whose products, services or activities are publicly recognized as being incompatible with the moral and ethical posture of GuideStone. About four years ago, GuideStone formalized its efforts into advocacy with companies, which has allowed the ministry to join the front lines of advocating against opioid misuse in the United States as well as globally, and advocate around issues including child labor.

“We have always affirmed our faith-based approach with the investments we’ve excluded in our other funds,” Spika said. “Through our new impact Fund and enhanced process, we are underscoring our commitment to that approach while proactively investing in securities and organizations committed to making a difference in the world.

“We believe impact investing is the next frontier for our organization. It allows us to take the next step through our product offerings to actively invest in organizations that do good across the globe while we promote the growth of God’s kingdom.”

The Fund’s holdings, which range across a wide array of important sectors of the economy – including technology, health care and consumer businesses – showcase organizations and investments that are foundationally centered around philosophies of the sanctity of life and spreading the Gospel, human dignity and advancement, and the stewardship of God’s creation.

Investment examples within the Fund include a mortgage-backed security composed of home mortgages for women with low-to-moderate incomes, a multinational organization that seeks to provide underprivileged communities abroad with greater access to technology, and a municipal bond backing a large community college district in which two-thirds of the student body comes from a low-income, food or housing insecure background. In addition, the Fund owns bonds that fund Christian schools and universities.

“We believe this new Fund offers one additional choice for our participants and investors who are looking for investments that align with their values,” GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins said. “As we seek to live out our vision to be lifelong partners with our participants in enhancing their financial security, we constantly are evaluating new products that meet the expectations of our participants. This new Fund gives investors an additional choice as they consider how best to steward the resources entrusted to them.”

For more information on the Fund, visit: https://www.guidestonefunds.com/Impact

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