SBC of Virginia gives $175K to IMB
By Timothy Cockes/SBC of Virginia
COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (BP) – More than 400 attendees were encouraged to “Press On” in ministry during the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBC of Virginia) Annual Homecoming Nov. 8-9 at The Heights Baptist Church.
The SBC of Virginia’s yearly meeting had to be adjusted due to COVID-19 related limitations, but the convention was still able to convene in person with certain safety precautions to worship, fellowship, conduct business, and hear messages under the theme of the need to “Press On” in ministry to our neighbors and to the nations. The meeting also was streamed online to more than 250 unique viewers and many more on Facebook.
Brian Autry, executive director for the SBC of Virginia, opened the gathering by declaring the need to press on despite the challenging times churches have faced this past year. Autry outlined a great pandemic of sin, a Great Physician who saves, and a great mission for souls.
The SBC of Virginia celebrated 175 years of ministry by the International Mission Board (IMB). Before an address by keynote speaker IMB President Paul Chitwood, Autry and convention officers presented a $175,000 gift in honor of IMB’s anniversary on behalf of SBC of Virginia churches.
Messengers reelected by affirmation all officers who served in 2020 based upon the recommendation of the SBC of Virginia Executive Board. Officers reelected include Allen McFarland, senior pastor at Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church in Portsmouth, president; Monty Guice, senior pastor of Swift Creek Baptist Church in Midlothian, first vice president; Vernig Suarez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista del Camino in Norfolk, second vice president; and Jim Drake, senior pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Bluefield, secretary.
Upon recommendation, messengers approved the proposed Ministry Investment Plan of $10 million for the 2021 fiscal year, which is the same amount as the 2020 Ministry Investment Plan.
Of the total adopted Ministry Investment Plan amount, $9.6 million comes Cooperative Program contributions from SBC of Virginia churches. The adopted plan will be distributed with 51 percent going to national Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program ministries and 49 percent to in-state SBC of Virginia Ministries. This allocation is the same as last year’s.
Messengers approved 22 new churches into fellowship with SBC of Virginia, taking the total number of affiliated churches to 790. Messengers and guests also celebrated 14 new church plants birthed from SBC of Virginia churches during 2020.
BGCT holds first online meeting
By Ken Camp/Baptist Standard
DALLAS (BP) – Texas Baptists handled essential business for the coming year – adopting a budget and electing officers – during a scaled-back online annual meeting.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas held its first virtual annual business meeting Nov. 16. Texas Baptist leaders moved from an in-personal annual meeting to the online event, livestreamed from the Dallas Baptist University campus, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online meeting drew 664 registered messengers via a Zoom teleconference.
A “practice vote” early in the session – a question to test the Zoom polling function and familiarize messengers with procedures – revealed 72 percent of the messengers were age 50 or older.
Messengers approved a $34,266,688 budget for 2021 – a decrease of $833,779 from the current year’s budget.
The approved 2021 budget projects a $32 million net Texas budget, based on Cooperative Program giving and investment income, about $500,000 less than the 2020 budget. This depends on $27 million in Texas Cooperative Program receipts from churches, compared to $27.5 million in the current year’s budget.
It also anticipates slightly more than $5 million in investment income, comparable to the 2020 budget, and more than $2.5 million in additional revenue from conference and booth fees, product sales, the North American Mission Board and other sources.
Messengers approved continued allocation of undesignated receipts of 79 percent for the BGCT and 21 percent for worldwide causes.
Most officers were elected by acclamation, including: President Jason Burden, incumbent first vice president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland; First Vice President Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen; Secretary Bernie Spooner, retired director of the BGCT Sunday School division and first dean of the Cook Graduate School of Leadership at DBU; and Registration Secretary David Cozart, executive pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Robinson.
In the only contested race, messengers elected Jordan Villanueva, pastor of Indian Hills Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, as second vice president. Ward Hayes will serve as recording secretary by virtue of his position as treasurer and chief financial officer of the BGCT.