Oklahoma Baptists’ board approves abbreviated meeting
By Baptist Messenger Staff
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP) – Members of Oklahoma Baptists’ state convention board of directors gathered Tuesday (Sept. 15) at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, to meet, pray, hear ministry and financial reports, as well as finalize plans for the upcoming annual meeting in November.
In a unanimous decision, board members approved a plan to change the 114th annual meeting from a two-day meeting to an abbreviated, one-day meeting.
The 2020 Annual Meeting of Oklahoma Baptists, which was previously scheduled for Nov. 9-10, will take place only on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 10, at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow.
With the decision to alter the meeting, Oklahoma Baptists’ convention becomes one of dozens of Southern Baptist state conventions to change annual meeting plans  in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple state conventions have cancelled or postponed their annual meetings.
The newly-approved schedule will feature times of preaching and essential business, including officer elections. The annual pastors’ conference and various fellowship events and meals previously scheduled have been cancelled.
“While we are disappointed that COVID-related factors have inhibited our plans to meet as we typically do, we believe the 2020 meeting, though shortened, will be uplifting and unifying for our pastors and churches,” said Oklahoma Baptists’ President Blake Gideon, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Edmond.
Hance Dilbeck, executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists, added, “The theme for our convention meeting is ‘Unhindered,’ based on the last verse in the Book of Acts. While the 2020 year has presented unparalleled challenges for our churches, we know the Gospel of Jesus Christ will advance unhindered, as we embrace brokenness as opportunity for the Gospel.”
North Carolina Baptists dedicate disaster relief ministry hub
By Seth Brown/Biblical Recorder
ROSE HILL, N.C. (BP) – Two years after Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating force, North Carolina Baptists on Mission dedicated a new ministry hub near Rose Hill, N.C.
A ceremony was held Monday (Sept. 14) to dedicated the Charity Rebuild Center, housed at the former Charity Middle School.
Since its founding in 2019, the site has been home base for volunteer teams as they have rebuilt more than 100 homes in nearby communities.
North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) Director Mike Sprayberry spoke at the ceremony. He told those gathered that minutes before, he had received a text message from a resident affected by Hurricane Florence. The woman was requesting help for repairs on her home.
“She’s a Florence survivor,” he said. “She needs help. … If that doesn’t tug on your heart strings – knowing that somebody out there, two years after the fact, is still not in a safe and secure living condition.”
There are currently 73 rebuild projects awaiting completion, Charity site director Richard Weeks said. Thirteen were underway at the time of publication.
Millions of dollars in cleaning supplies and construction materials have been provided through grants and donations.
The facility can host more than 200 volunteers at a time, Weeks said, and disaster relief leaders anticipate that Hurricane Florence-related relief work will continue for at least two more years.
Other speakers included NCBM executive director Richard Brunson, NCBM staff member Bill Martin, John Butler, executive leader of business services at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and more.