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Puerto Rico Baptists strive to be ‘fully mature in Christ’

BP Staff

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (BP) – The Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in Puerto Rico (Convención de Iglesias Bautistas del Sur de Puerto Rico) held its annual meeting earlier this year in San Juan.

Eighty-nine messengers and 29 guests met Feb. 4 at Iglesia Bautista Ciudad de Dios under a theme based on Colossians 1:28 – “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”

They adopted a budget of $86,720, designating $17,356 (20 percent) to national and international SBC causes.

A new slate of officers was elected, including President Camilo Méndez, Iglesia Bautista Comunidad de Gracia, San Germán; Vice President Rafael Vélez, Iglesia Bautista de Lajas; Secretary Óscar Ortiz, Iglesia Bautista Esperanza Eterna; Sub-Secretary Rubén Rodríguez, Iglesia Bautista Misionera.

Outgoing president David Colón told attendees, “Southern Baptists are a Great Commission people, so let today be the day that, with new leaders, you start living the Great Commission.”

In his address to messengers, Executive Director Luis Soto said, “We’ve witnessed the great things our Lord has done this year and we can’t wait to see what He’s going to do next. Even in our trials we’ve seen His hand working in our favor.”

Next year’s meeting will be Feb. 10, 2024, at the same location.

BGAV celebrates 200th anniversary

By BGAV Staff

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – BGAV commemorated its 200th anniversary with a three-day celebration of history, thankfulness and diversity at its 2023 annual meeting, Nov. 13-15 at Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond.

Highlights of this year’s business proceedings included passing a motion to support and advocate for women in ministry and utilizing for the first time an electronic voting method, which enabled all messengers to vote – whether they attended the event in person or via livestream.

BGAV’s officers for 2024 are Becky McKinney, Shelton Miles, Alan Miller, and Nathan Taylor (left to right).

More than 1,000 people attended, including 578 registered messengers, 286 guests and 153 exhibitors and staff members.

BGAV Treasurer David Washburn presented the 2024 budget during the Tuesday morning business session. Next year’s budget total is $7,061,860, and messengers approved it without opposition on Wednesday. Before his initial presentation, Washburn explained that BGAV has a surplus of $235,566 for the current year.

Washburn also introduced four revised giving plans for BGAV-participating churches. The first plan is BGAV only, where all money given will support BGAV and its ministries. The other three options split churches’ gifts between BGAV and other ministry partners, allocating 72 percent for BGAV ministries and 28 percent for the other groups as specified in each plan.

Tuesday morning’s business session also included a motion from the floor regarding women in ministry. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Winchester, presented the motion, which read, “I move that the Executive Board of the Baptist General Association of Virginia appoint a seven-member task force to explore programs, resources, policies, initiatives and relationships which further support and advocate for women in pastoral, ministerial, and leadership roles among Virginia Baptists.”

Dozens of supporters approached the microphone, prepared to speak in favor of the motion, but when no messengers spoke in opposition, President Herbert Ponder closed the motion for discussion and called for a vote. The motion passed with 84 percent voting in favor of it.

Themed “Called to Be,” the meeting highlighted the rich history of Virginia Baptists and demonstrated the wide scope of its reach throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

BGAV’s 201st Annual Meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11-13, 2024, at First Baptist Church of Alexandria.

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