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STATE MEETINGS: Michigan looks to healthy future; Maryland-Delaware mission continues

Michigan looks to a healthy future

By Karen L. Willoughby

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The Baptist State Convention of Michigan met Nov. 6 at Mile City Church for a four-hour annual meeting. The gathering’s theme: 500 Churches by 2025.

Pastor Scott Blanchard (front), past president of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, prays over new officers (left to right) Jerome Taylor, Roland Caldwell Sr., Ed Emmerling, Roy Henry and Michelle White.

“We are launching a five-year plan to increase the number of new churches and churches that join with us by the year 2025,” Executive Director Tim Patterson said. “Our convention is in a very healthy and positive position. We are looking forward to planting more churches this year, growing healthy churches and expanding our mission.”

In all, 110 people from 33 churches attended Michigan’s annual meeting, including 65 in-person messengers, 15 guests and 30 online. The BSCM includes 294 churches.

“Michigan Baptists are a strong and hearty stock,” Patterson said. “Most are unpretentious and reserved, with no desire to be in the spotlight, but when needed they step up and face life’s difficulties with determination and passion. This is so evident in how the Baptist State Convention of Michigan family has responded (to the varied crises of 2020).

“Contributions to the Cooperative Program through the Baptist State Convention of Michigan rose 3.76 percent this year over the previous year, due to the overwhelming generosity and deep compassion of Michigan Baptists.”

This year’s budget shortfall was alleviated by adjusting “annual spending to meet the needs of pastors and families by decreasing the funds normally spent on state retreat events and lessening staff travel costs by spending more time with others through virtual meetings,” the executive director said.

Business at the shortened annual meeting consisted of passing the 2021 budget and electing new officers.

The 2021 budget was set at $1,914,562, a 16 percent decrease from the 2020 budget, even as $1,945,188 is anticipated to come from the Cooperative Program giving of Michigan churches. The state convention will continue to pass on 27.5 percent of Michigan churches’ Cooperative Program giving to national SBC missions, ministries and education.

The budget is smaller than the anticipated income from churches “because of the uncertainty of the COVID situation,” Patterson said. “If we bring in more we’ll put it in reserves and use it for missions or something.”

New officers: President Roy Henry, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Battle Creek; First Vice President Ed Emmerling, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Flushing; Second Vice President Roland Caldwell Sr., pastor of Burnett Baptist Church in Detroit; Recording Secretary Jerome Taylor, pastor of Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton; Assistant Recording Secretary Michelle White, member at Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster.

This year’s COVID pandemic challenged churches like never before, but that was a good thing, the executive director said.

“The Church has in so many ways moved outside of its walls and become the church in the community as God always intended,” Patterson said. “I’m certain as we return and gather in 2021 that we will have much more to celebrate as God continues to help us punch holes in the darkness by spreading the light of Christ throughout the region.”

Maryland-Delaware meeting canceled, mission continues

By Sharon Mager/BCMD

COLUMBIA, Md. – Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCMD) Executive-Director Kevin Smith and BCMD officers prayerfully decided to cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting.

The following officers agreed to serve through 2021: President Harold Phillips, senior pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Md.; First Vice President Glenn Swanson, senior pastor of Bayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake Beach, Md.; Second Vice President Andy Ehlers, senior pastor of High Tide Baptist Church in Dagsboro, Del.; Recording Secretary Stephanie Laferriere, member of The Garden Church in Baltimore; and Assistant Recording Secretary Mike Fillis, pastor of Fenwick Island Baptist Church, in Selbyville, Del.

Associate Executive Director Tom Stolle said there would be no change to Cooperative Program (CP) percentages in the budget, which currently allocates 48 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries. The final budget for 2021 will be decided in December.

Stolle said the convention will continue to focus on its mission “to intentionally assist in the starting and strengthening of congregations so that together we can accomplish the Great Commission as stated in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.”

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