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SBC DIGEST: BGR now ECFA-accredited; WMU names staffer for boys; Calif. foundation to relocate

Baptist Global Response receives ECFA accreditation

NASHVILLE (BP) — Baptist Global Response has received accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

According to the council, ECFA accreditation is based on the organization’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship and its “model of biblical accountability.” In bestowing its seal, ECFA certifies that BGR has demonstrated financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising in its daily operation.

Established in 2006, BGR is a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that responds to critical needs arising from both chronic conditions and natural disasters. It strives to connect people in need with people who care as a way of demonstrating God’s love to the world’s most vulnerable.

“It is important to us and our donors to be able to show that BGR is a trustworthy and well-run organization,” Executive Director Jeff Palmer said. “This accreditation by ECFA is a great affirmation of our organization, practices and policies,” and BGR is “honored to have it.”

Palmer, recapping the scope of BGR’s work, reported, “BGR works with Southern Baptist churches to rapidly respond to international disasters as well as address long-term issues of poverty and hunger with well-planned mercy ministries. In 2015, BGR helped implement 282 relief and development projects in 64 countries. This impacted 4,192 communities, with 173,000 people in need receiving food assistance through BGR programs, 252,000 gaining access to clean drinking water and 105,000 receiving compassionate health care. All of this was done in a way that helped people both physically and spiritually.”

Those interested in partnering with or donating to BGR can find out more through ServantMatch, a new feature on the ECFA website that matches people looking for giving opportunities with ECFA-approved nonprofit organizations that might interest them.

Established in 1979, the ECFA evaluates Christian nonprofits, churches and ministries and endorses those that meet its Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. For more information about the ECFA accreditation process or for a list of accredited members, visit www.ECFA.org.

Ministry consultant for boys named by WMU

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Zachariah Seanor has joined the staff of national WMU as ministry consultant with responsibilities for the growth and development of missions education for boys through Royal Ambassadors (RA), WMU’s missions program for boys in grades 1–6, and Challengers, for boys in grades 7–12.

Carol Causey, director for WMU’s Missions Resource Center, said, “[Seanor’s] personal knowledge from being raised in RAs along with his training in education and missions make him uniquely equipped for this position. We look forward with great anticipation to his contributions.”

Seanor has served as chaplain and interim dean of student life the past year at Live Oak Classical School for grades 7–12 in Waco, Texas. He served as associate director of student recruitment for the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco from 2013–2015 and minister of students at Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church in Temple, Texas, from 2012–2013.

Seanor holds a master of divinity degree from Truett Seminary with a focus on missions and world Christianity and an undergraduate degree in secondary education from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

He and his wife Haley have relocated to make their home in the Birmingham area.

Calif. Baptist Foundation to relocate

FRESNO, Calif. (BP) — The California Baptist Foundation’s board of directors has voted to relocate the entity’s principal offices from Fresno to Ontario in 2017.

The action was taken during the directors’ Aug. 19 meeting and was part of a three-pronged recommendation to also restructure and rebrand the 64-year-old organization which serves California Southern Baptist Convention congregations.

The plan calls for the foundation to lease 6,000 square feet of space from Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention which has relocated its main campus from Mill Valley to Ontario, Calif.

The recommendations were presented after a six-month study by the entity’s Future of the Foundation Task Force. The timing of the move is still in the planning stages but is expected to occur by the end of 2017.

Foundation President Philip Kell recommended the creation of the task force after becoming convinced that God was “opening doors of opportunity” which could help the foundation better serve California churches and have a greater Kingdom impact.

“I believe we are at a crossroads moment, a moment when operational circumstances have intersected with providential opportunities which could propel us into God’s preferred future for His foundation,” he said.

Kell reported that the foundation plans to maintain a presence in Fresno even after the relocation. Foundation executives are in conversation with the California convention about securing a portion of its Ministry Resource Center to house several foundation employees to serve central and northern California.

The recommendation came after the task force determined that almost 60 percent of CSBC churches are located in Southern California while only 22 percent of the foundation’s church clientele are there. “We are clearly underserving our churches in the south, and with offices in Ontario and Fresno we will not only be better able to serve our churches, but also be better able to coordinate our efforts with key ministry partners such as CSBC, California Baptist University in Riverside, Gateway Seminary and local associations.”

The recommendation authorizes Kell to put the foundation’s Fresno building up for sale and finalize a lease for the space from Gateway and the California convention’s offices in Fresno. The recommendation also called for Kell and the task force to present more detailed relocation, restructuring and rebranding plans at the directors’ February 2017 board meeting.

    About the Author

  • BGR, WMU & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor with reporting by Casey Watson of Baptist Global Response and Julie Walters of Woman’s Missionary Union.

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