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SBC DIGEST: Townes returns as interim EC CFO; Tennessee DR donates to Ukraine

Bill Townes to serve four months as interim SBC EC CFO

NASHVILLE (BP) – Bill Townes has taken over as interim chief financial officer for the SBC Executive Committee, agreeing to serve for four months. Townes served in the role for more than a decade before retiring in 2020.

“I am glad Bill was able to give us some time to serve in this role for us,” said EC Chairman Rolland Slade.

Newly named EC interim President/CEO Willie McLaurin shares Slade’s gratefulness to have Townes in the interim role.

“I am incredibly thankful for Bill’s willingness to step in and assist Southern Baptist in this season. His high level of character and competency will add value to our task of reaching the world for Jesus,” McLaurin said.

Townes will be responsible for monitoring the budget, beginning the development and preparation of the 2022-23 EC budget, overseeing receipts and distributions, reviewing and approving monthly financial reports and assisting with management of restricted funds.

“Bill will work alongside our team at the EC to ensure that the Cooperative Program resources are stewarded with excellence,” McLaurin said.

Slade believes Townes brings valuable experience and wisdom to the role, saying: “He is, of course, familiar with our systems and will be extremely helpful in assisting us through this season.”

Townes fills the role after the resignation of Jeff Pearson Feb. 15.

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief allocates $70,000 for Ukrainians

By Lonnie Wilkey

MOUNT JULIET, Tenn (BP) – Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has allocated $50,000 in relief funds for Ukraine and $10,000 each for the Baptist seminaries in Ukraine and Romania.

The funds will be sent through Send Relief to be used “to assist in meeting the immediate needs of the refugees coming across various borders,” said Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. Jones noted that the $10,000 being sent to the two seminaries is to assist them in their ministry to refugees.

Russian troops began invading eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24 and have spread across the country, including the capital of Kyiv. As of Feb. 28, reports indicate that there have been more than 350 deaths and 1,500 people injured.

Send Relief also reported that approximately 250,000 Ukrainians are crossing into other European countries, including Poland, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary and Romania. Most of the refugees are women and children as the men are staying to fight.

“Tennessee Baptists are responding with passionate prayer, intercession and generosity to the great humanitarian crisis affecting the Ukrainians,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Because of the faithfulness of Tennessee Baptists to give to the Cooperative Program and disaster relief, the TBMB has wired funds from churches across the state to assist in relief efforts in eastern Europe, Davis said.

Davis added that he has been in touch with the president of Baptist seminaries in Ukraine and Romania. “These dear brothers are working tirelessly to care for refugees,” he said. “They are not alone. Southern Baptists — through the International Mission Board and Send Relief — are walking with these sweet brothers during a season when God and heroes are showing up.”

Jones said North Carolina Baptists and Ohio Baptists are taking the lead in the initial assessment and will respond to needs as they are made known.

“If we are requested to send teams, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will respond,” he said. Volunteers who are interested in going if called need to check the status of their passport (must be more six months from expiration). In addition, there may be a vaccine requirement in place in the various countries where DR volunteers may be called to serve, Jones said.

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