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Conventions emphasize disaster relief effort

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptists’ record-setting response to this year’s brutal hurricanes was highlighted in most of the 42 state conventions this fall, with appreciation voiced for the thousands of Baptists who stepped forward to give and go to places of devastation and suffering.

Louisiana Baptists noted that ministry to the hurricane-ravaged areas and assistance to more than 200 affected churches was made possibly by faithful giving by Southern Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program. Mississippi Baptist pastors from Pascagoula, Long Beach, Bay St. Louis and Gulfport shared testimonies during a “Surviving the Storm” tribute to the thousands of disaster relief volunteers.

Extensive ministry along the Gulf Coast was described at both Texas state convention meetings. A Baptist General Convention of Texas leader related how he was able to put cash in the hands of a rabbi sheltering storm victims in a synagogue just days after the storm, asking him to help everyone, no matter who they were. A speaker at the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention told how ministry to displaced evacuees had transformed his church to look “a lot more like heaven than it used to in terms of the way we look and respond.”

Beyond the affected coastal states, the generosity of Southern Baptists and commitment of disaster relief volunteers was praised in most every gathering.

Representative of disaster relief efforts spotlighted in annual Southern Baptist meetings across the country: the 60 Montana Baptists who traveled 4,000 miles to minister along the Gulf Coast; the testimony of a Bogalusa, La., pastor who told Illinois Baptists that their relief efforts were the catalyst for his town’s recovery; and the 400 New England Baptist volunteers who received disaster relief training to feed evacuees arriving in the Northeast.

The annual meetings also provided a time for celebrating milestones in several states. The conventions in Colorado and Kansas-Nebraska celebrated 50 years of ministry while Iowa Baptists highlighted 50 years of ministry and a decade as a convention. West Virginia Southern Baptists marked 35 years as a state convention, while Hawaii Baptists honored four “legacy leavers” who shaped work in that state.

Three state conventions wrestled with historic ties to Baptist colleges – Georgia and Mercer University; Tennessee and Belmont University; and Kentucky and Georgetown College.

Several states increased the portion of Cooperative Program receipts from local churches that is forwarded to national and international missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

With the reallocation of funds originally budgeted for Belmont College added to a recommendation to increase the SBC portion by a quarter percent, Tennessee Baptists provided the greatest increase in the portion forwarded to the SBC in the amount of a 2.5 percent hike. Colorado, New York and California Baptists each raised the SBC portion of their budgets by a quarter percent; Indiana Baptists approved a .3 percent increase; and Penn/Jersey Baptists added one-tenth of a percent for SBC causes.

Summaries for the state conventions follow:

ALABAMA — Alabama Baptists endorsed a call to use the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a way to foster racial reconciliation. The annual meeting, with a theme of “Intentional Evangelism,” featured a joint service with the International Mission Board to witness the appointment of 89 new missionaries. Alabama Baptists will begin missions partnerships with Ukraine and Guatemala next year.

A slightly increased budget of nearly $42.65 million for the Alabama Baptist State Convention was adopted, continuing to send 43.2 percent to SBC causes. Henry Cox of First Baptist in Bay Minette was re-elected president.

Resolutions expressed appreciation for the life and work of the late Adrian Rogers, former SBC president and Memphis-area pastor; opposition to gambling and support of the sanctity of marriage amendment; and a call to demonstrate love to practicing homosexuals by sharing the transforming power of the Gospel. Messengers also expressed appreciation for disaster relief efforts, including aid to affected churches by LifeWay Christian Resources.

ALASKA — Meeting in Juneau, messengers continued a two-year emphasis on “Light Up Alaska” to encourage reaching friends and neighbors with the Gospel. Next year’s $1.88 million budget will be reduced by $80,000, though the SBC allocation of state Cooperative Program receipts will remain at 33 percent. Bruce Rowell, pastor of First Baptist, Palmer, was re-elected president.

With the recent deployment of nearly 4,000 military personnel from Alaska, messengers pledged to support American forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom through prayer and encouragement of military personnel and families who remain behind.

ARIZONA — In their strongest year ever of Cooperative Program giving, Arizona Baptists gathered around the theme of “EKG: Empowered Beyond Our Ability … to Plant Churches, to Strengthen Churches, to Lead, and to Evangelize.” Arizona Southern Baptist Convention messengers adopted a $4.07 million budget and will continue to send 25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to the SBC for national and international ministries.

Re-elected ASBC President Dan Coker, pastor of Love Baptist in Phoenix, appointed a nine-member committee to evaluate the convention’s current organizational structure. Messengers adopted resolutions expressing appreciation for the Cooperative Program, the Arizona campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, disaster relief ministry and military chaplains while pledging prayer for families who have lost loved ones in military service.

ARKANSAS — Independent agency status for the Baptist Assembly at Siloam Springs gained initial approval at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention in an action requiring a two-thirds vote at two successive annual meetings. Harry Black, associational missionary for Washington-Madison Baptist Association, was elected convention president over Chuck McAlister of The Church at Crossgate Center in Hot Springs. A seven-member task force was given an additional year to complete a comprehensive study of convention ministries and bring recommendations next year.

The theme of “Fanning the Flames of Revival” emphasized next year’s simultaneous revivals. The flat $19.76 million budget retains an allocation of 41.77 percent of CP receipts to national and international missions causes. Resolutions commended disaster relief volunteers, opposed gambling and the sale of beer on college campuses, countered homosexual activism and affirmed the Cooperative Program.

CALIFORNIA — With a theme of “Celebrate the Son,” California messengers increased their budget to $12.03 million for the coming year, with 27.25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to be allocated for SBC causes. Tom Stringfellow, pastor of First Baptist of Beverly Hills, was re-elected president.

Resolutions expressed sympathy to the family of Adrian Rogers and support to the Pacific Southwest Region of the American Baptist Churches of the USA in withdrawing from ABCUSA “over the issue of biblical authority and moral integrity.” Messengers honored Fermin A. Whittaker on his 10th anniversary as executive director.

Messengers denied seating to “one challenged messenger” over his ongoing allegations against a local director of missions who had been exonerated by that association –- a vote that overturned a credentials committee recommendation to seat the individual.

COLORADO — Celebrating “Days of Glory: A Place Where the Past and the Future Meet in the Living Present,” the Colorado Baptist General Convention approved a $3.7 million budget allocating 29.25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts for national and international causes.

Charlie Jones of Fellowship of the Rockies in Pueblo was elected president. Resolutions honored early Colorado Baptists and pledged prayer for President Bush and elected officials in selecting a Supreme Court justice.

DAKOTAS — With a theme of “Lighting the Way” for the Dakota Baptist Convention annual meeting, a new ministry venture, the Dakota Baptist School of Theology and Leadership, was affirmed to train pastors and laypeople in biblical studies and church leadership.

Next year’s budget for the Dakota Baptist Convention represents a 12 percent decrease to $1.2 million while 14 percent of CP receipts will continue to be allocated to national and international missions and ministries. Bill Savery of First Baptist in Custer City, S.D., was elected president.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — David Freshour of Chevy Chase was elected president of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. A proposed budget 2006 budget, totaling $1,011,147, was referred back to the convention’s finance committee for further consideration and executive board for action by Jan. 31.

Phil Busbee, pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco, led a Monday afternoon prayer initiative, shared his personal experience and understanding of the power of prayer in the local church. After starting with a time of praise, Busbee invited delegates to proceed to five areas staffed with intercessors to minister to each person through prayer for healing, spiritual growth, church needs or other related concerns.

FLORIDA — Florida Baptist State Convention leaders publicly signed the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment to encourage a petition drive to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. If successful, the matter will be voted on next November.

Hayes Wicker of First Baptist of Naples was re-elected president. A $38.4 million budget continues to provide 40 percent for SBC causes. “Together toward Tomorrow” served as the annual meeting’s theme.

Resolutions expressed support of President George W. Bush and the U.S. military for preserving and protecting freedom, the North American Mission Board for financial assistance after Hurricane Wilma and to 14 Baptist state conventions that sent relief volunteers to South Florida.

GEORGIA — Georgia Baptists overwhelmingly voted to sever ties with Mercer University, declaring that the state convention is no longer compatible with the university in either theology or purpose. Concerns expressed over a number of years escalated when the university allowed a “Coming Out Day” symposium for homosexuals that drew participation from faculty, including members of the religion department.

With a theme of “Celebrate the Harvest,” messengers approved a $50.5 million budget, allocating 42.13 percent to SBC causes beyond the state. Messengers were informed that Shorter College has returned as a Georgia Baptist Convention-funded college, receiving funds previously held in escrow.

Wayne Hamrick, an evangelist from Cartersville, was elected president. A partnership with Moldova was extended for three more years.

HAWAII -– After honoring Hawaii Baptists who provided “Eternal Stewardship: A Legacy That Lasts,” messengers adopted their first budget to exceed $3 million, at $3.06 million. The Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention continues to allocate 31.5 percent of CP receipts for out of state SBC causes.

Layman Ken Sakai of Maui was re-elected as president. Partnerships with California, Japan and North Carolina were affirmed in resolutions.

IDAHO — “Chosen for Greatness” was the theme of the annual meeting of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention as messengers approved a budget of $807,578, up 2.66 percent over the current year. The portion forwarded for national and international missions and ministries will continue at 21 percent.

Messengers elected Rodger Russell of Holladay Baptist Church in Salt Lake City in a runoff with Paul Thompson of Eastside Baptist in Twin Falls for convention president. Russell will lead a newly formed committee to develop cooperation between the state convention and local associations.

ILLINOIS — With an “Empowering Kingdom Growth” theme, Illinois Baptists emphasized baptismal growth and heard a Louisiana pastor relate the impact of disaster relief ministry by volunteers from Illinois. A budget of nearly $5.6 million budget will continue to allocate 42.25 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes.

Fred Wingers of First Baptist in Maryville was elected president. Illinois Baptists approved resolutions promoting a biblical worldview and disaster relief while opposing judicial activism. In order to correct a voting error from last year, messengers agreed to delay by one year the downsizing of the convention’s board from 72 to 33 members.

INDIANA — With a thematic emphasis on baptismal goals, messengers to the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana revised their bylaws to expand representation for every association on the executive board and committed to continuing mission partnerships with Eastern Ukraine, Mexico and Florida.

Indiana Baptists approved a 1.2 percent budget increase to nearly $4.45 million, forwarding 32.8 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes, and elected Mark Hearn of Northside Baptist in Indianapolis as president. Resolutions addressed marriage and urged repeal of all forms of gambling.

IOWA — A strategy plan for Empowering Kingdom Growth was adopted by the Baptist Convention of Iowa, encouraging church health, discipleship and new starts, as well as strengthened associations. Meeting with a theme of “Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future,” messengers elected Dan Doolin of Solid Rock Baptist in Wapello as president.

A slightly increased budget of $1.82 million continues to send 20 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes. Messengers adopted a resolution calling for strengthened prayer among individuals and churches through a coordinated statewide effort. Dan Doolin of Solid Rock Baptist in Wapello was elected president.

KANSAS-NEBRASKA — Celebrating the past while anticipating the future, messengers to the Kansas-Nebraska Southern Baptist Convention celebrated 50 years of work in Nebraska.

Messengers approved a slightly reduced budget totaling nearly $5.5 million, continuing to send 32 percent of CP receipts to national and international causes. Steve Dighton of Lenexa Baptist was elected president.

KENTUCKY — Kentucky Baptist Convention messengers overwhelmingly agreed to a “memorandum of understanding” that outlines a new relationship with Georgetown College, specifying that 75 percent of the college’s trustees will be Kentucky Baptists now that Georgetown has established a self-perpetuating board. KBC will phase out its $1.3 million allocation to the college while continuing to offer scholarships and jointly fund the campus minister position. Georgetown named its own trustees until 1942.

The annual meeting theme of “Strengthening Every Church” fit into a five-year emphasis of “Kentucky Baptists Connect.” Messengers elected Paul Chitwood of First Baptist in Mount Washington as president. Next year’s budget of $23.56 million represents a 2 percent increase while continuing to send 36 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes. Resolutions opposed all forms of gambling and echoed a resolution passed at last June’s SBC annual meeting regarding the responsibility of parents in their children’s education.

LOUISIANA -– Bill Robertson of Temple Baptist in Winnsboro was elected president, with 59.5 percent of the vote, over a nominee endorsed by the Louisiana Inerrancy Fellowship. Although the first successful non-LIF nominee in seven years, Robertson affirmed biblical inerrancy, support of the Cooperative Program and evangelistic outreach. Conservative leaders noted to BP Robertson’s support of the SBC conservative resurgence.

Messengers agreed to reduce the budget by $1 million in light of the impact of hurricane damage affecting more than 150 churches. The $21 million budget was approved after messengers restored a $52,500 cut to the state paper allocation. The current allocation to SBC causes will remain at 35.5 percent.

Messengers rejected a motion to move the Baptist Message under a newly formed convention communications team as recommended by the newspaper’s trustees and the convention’s executive director, David Hankins. The newspaper’s board will renew a search to replace retiring editor Lynn Clayton, who was honored at the annual meeting.

Resolutions expressed gratitude for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts, voiced prayer support of Louisiana College and praised the ministry of Adrian Rogers. Messengers also challenged the state’s appeal of a court ruling that granted increased compensation to the convention after the highway department used eminent domain to confiscate property at a Baptist conference center.

MARYLAND — Messengers to the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware received an invitation, via video presentation from the North American Mission Board’s president, Robert E. Reccord, for Baltimore to become a Strategic Focus City. The initiative will require a yet-to-be-formalized partnership involving Baltimore, the state convention and NAMB.

Messengers re-elected James Nichols of Faith Church in Glen Burnie and approved a budget of nearly $6.68 million. The portion of CP receipts to be allocated for SBC causes remains at 41 percent. “Call Unto Me — Praying Together for God’s Power” was the annual meeting’s theme.

Resolutions praised disaster relief efforts and encouraged continued assistance. A committee was formed to research how the convention can influence Maryland public school curriculum to be more biblical and family friendly.

MICHIGAN — Messengers to the Baptist State Convention of Michigan approved a $3.4 million budget, continuing to send 30 percent of CP receipts to national and international missions. “If Not Now, When?” was the meeting’s theme, emphasizing unity as the method for reaching Michigan with the Gospel.

Wayne Parker of Merriman Road Baptist in Garden City was re-elected president. Resolutions supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man to one woman and honored the efforts of the state’s disaster relief volunteers. A three-year partnership with Niger, West Africa, also was approved.

MINNESOTA-WISCONSIN — “Let’s Go Minnesota-Wisconsin!” was the theme for the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention meeting, with a focus on the Acts 1:8 missions mandate.

Layman Shelby Alcott of Layton Avenue Baptist in Greenfield, Wis., was elected president. The 2006 budget of $2.21 million is down 1.8 percent from the current year while continuing to send 13 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes beyond the state.

MISSISSIPPI -– With the theme of “Acts 1:8: The Final Command — Empowering God’s People, Expanding God’s Kingdom,” Mississippi Baptist messengers paid tribute to the tens of thousands of volunteers who worked along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Clarence Cooper of Emmanuel Baptist in Grenada was elected president. Messengers adopted a flat budget of $31.31 million, continuing to send 36 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes.

MISSOURI — Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention overwhelmingly approved requiring single alignment for member churches, preventing an MBC church from affiliating with another state convention or national organization such as the Baptist General Convention of Missouri or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. “So Send I You” served as the annual meeting theme based on John 20:21.

Ralph Sawyer of First Baptist of Wentzville was elected president while resolutions addressed the need for education on the dangers of embryonic stem cell research, commendation of The Pathway state Baptist newspaper and support of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. A $17.05 million budget represents an increase of $350,000 over last year, continuing to forward 35.75 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes.

MONTANA—The Montana Southern Baptist Convention’s budget of more than $1.5 million passed with a commitment to continue forwarding 22 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist causes.

With a theme of “Our Common Cause” for the annual meeting, messengers elected Darwin Schofield of Libby Baptist as elected president. In other business, final plans were approved for a partnership with Tennessee Baptists.

NEVADA -– No report was available at press time.

NEW ENGLAND — Paul Kim of Berkland Baptist in Cambridge, Mass., was elected president of the Baptist Convention of New England as the first non-Anglo to hold the post and first Korean elected to lead any state Baptist convention. A theme of “Acts 1:8: Creating a Missional Mindset” was the focus of the annual meeting.

Messengers passed a budget of nearly $2.83 million, representing a 5 percent increase over the previous year. The amount of CP receipts forwarded to SBC causes remains at 21 percent.

NEW MEXICO — The evangelistic Crossover: Hope Is Knocking effort prior to the opening session of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico provided four dozen participants an opportunity to take the Gospel to communities in the Four Corners area, where four people professed faith in Christ. “Building the Family” was the theme of the annual meeting.

Messengers re-elected Jay McCollum of First Baptist in Gallup as president and approved a nearly 3 percent increase in next year’s budget, to $3.77 million. BCNM will continue to forward 30.5 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes. A bylaw amendment assigned the policy and personnel committee with the selection of future executive director search committees.

Resolutions pledged support of Americans defending freedom around the world, disaster relief ministries, personal soul-winning, BCNM’s executive director search team, staff members and the next executive director.

NEW YORK — Milton Kornegay of Central Baptist in Syracuse was elected president during the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New York. Messengers approved a $3.43 million budget, a .68 percent increase over the current year, with a quarter percent more, or 26.75 percent, going to SBC causes.

Messengers approved a resolution praising the time, financial resources and physical strength expended by disaster relief volunteers who traveled to assist hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.

NORTH CAROLINA — Messengers to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina approved a $32.15 million budget, defeating an attempt to reduce the four giving tracks to one providing support only to the SBC for national and international causes. Increased allocations of a half-percent each were approved for the SBC and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship giving tracks. Gifts to the CBF, however, no longer will be counted as Cooperative Program giving.

A theme of “Renewing Your Passion” was the focus of the annual meeting. Stan Welch of Blackwelder Baptist in Kannapolis was elected president over Bylthe Taylor of St. John’s Baptist in Charlotte who gained about a third of the vote.

NORTHWEST — With a theme of “From Here to the Nations,” the Northwest Baptist Convention increased its budget to $5.5 million, continuing to send nearly a third of CP receipts to SBC causes.

Tim Crownover of Northside Baptist in Vancouver, Wash., was elected president. Resolutions addressed marriage, parental involvement in education, the importance of ministry and outreach, and prayer for U.S. government leaders.

OHIO –- No report was available at press time.

OKLAHOMA — A $22.65 million budget, up 1.8 percent over the current year, was adopted by Oklahoma Baptist messengers, continuing to send 40 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes. Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, with the theme of “Everyone Can Go Make Disciples,” approved a partnership with Armenia through 2008. Bob Green of Arrow Heights Baptist in Broken Arrow was re-elected president.

Resolutions offered support for the U.S. military, spiritual awakening, parental involvement in education, churches as places of comfort and healing for people with spiritual, emotional and mental challenges, disaster relief, the Cooperative Program, as well as praising SBC President Bobby Welch’s SBC-wide “Everyone Can” evangelistic initiative and voicing appreciation to former Oklahoma Baptist Messenger editor John Yeats. Messengers called on churches to deepen their commitment to proclaiming the Gospel in anticipation of BGCO’s centennial anniversary.

PENN-JERSEY — A record-setting crowd at the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey annual meeting witnessed the baptisms of six people by local Philadelphia pastors. “Exceedingly, Abundantly More” was the convention’s theme.

Messengers re-elected Jerry Dixon of Memorial Baptist in Gettysburg as president and passed a $3.31 million budget, up 2.69 percent over the current year. For the 13th year in a row, Penn/Jersey Baptists increased the portion of CP receipts sent to national and international missions and ministries, now at 24.8 percent.

SOUTH CAROLINA — Messengers adopted a $32.15 million budget, retaining a 40 percent allocation to SBC causes, during the annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. In bylaw revisions approved by messengers, the phrase “cooperating Baptist churches in the state” was defined to limit trustee membership to in-state churches and declared the Bible as the supreme authority for its activities and decisions.

Don Wilton of First Baptist in Spartanburg was elected president with 334 votes to 231 received by Don Brock of Gateway Baptist in Irmo. “All for One: One Purpose, One Mission, One Kingdom” was the convention’s theme.

Resolutions included affirmations of disaster relief volunteers and support for teaching Intelligent Design in public schools, the proposed constitutional amendment on marriage and the existing ban on government-funded stem cell research while encouraging alternative treatments. Messengers also expressed prayer support for the military and for President George W. Bush in the global war on terrorism. Churches were asked to systematically increase CP support and recommit to Empowering Kingdom Growth and spiritual awakening.

TENNESSEE — After learning that Tennessee pastor Adrian Rogers had died, messengers dedicated the opening session to his memory and adopted a resolution expressing sympathy to his family. Phil Jett of Englewood Baptist in Jackson was elected president by 18 votes over Roger “Sing” Oldham of First Baptist in Martin. The $36.7 million budget represents an increase of 3.2 percent over the current year.

Tennessee Baptists redistributed $2.3 million away from Belmont University, allocating $825,940 of the funds to the SBC, thus increasing CP funds beyond the state to 40 percent. Messengers delayed action on redefining the TBC’s relationship with the college over its move to elect non-Baptist trustees. A 1951 contract discovered just prior to the annual meeting revealed that the TBC did not deed the original 35-acre campus to Belmont. Instead, Tennessee Baptists granted the school use of the property unless Belmont passed from TBC control. Belmont President Robert Fisher said that multiple other actions superseded the contract.

The education committee presented a report that included Carson-Newman College trustees’ findings that their religion faculty affirmed the full inspiration, trustworthiness and authority of Scripture as having “God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter,” and that biology professors affirmed “the God of the Bible is also the Creator.” Several messengers challenged the report’s accuracy, and school trustees will revisit the matter for study and response.

Another resolution, reflecting a resolution passed by SBC messengers in June on the role and responsibility of parents in educating their children, asked Tennessee parents and churches to research and monitor educational influences and make prayerful and informed decisions. “Tennessee Baptists Boldly Going” was the theme of this year’s meeting.

TEXAS (BGCT) — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas approved a new constitution and bylaws, reducing the number of elected executive board directors from 239 to 90, with a mandate that at least 30 percent be non-Anglo while at least 40 percent come from church/denominational employees and 40 percent outside those categories. The new governing documents reorganize the BGCT’s executive structure by giving elected officers the power to appoint members of the committee on committees and reorganizing staff into four teams with congregational strategists living in the regions they serve.

Meeting with a theme of “One Family, One Mission,” messengers elected Michael A. Bell of Greater St. Stephen First Baptist in Fort Worth as president over Rick Davis of First Baptist in Brownwood. Bell has been active in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, an anti-SBC group that formed in the early 1990s over the election of conservative national leaders by SBC messengers. He has been a member of the CBF Coordinating Council and was chairman of the CBF Committee on Representation and Relationships.

A budget of nearly $49.44 million was adopted, up 4.1 percent over the current year to include an increase in operations while cutting funds for convention-supported educational institutions. The BGCT preferred giving plan retains 79 percent of church contributions for the BGCT and allows churches to decide where to send the remaining 21 percent, whether to the SBC or the CBF.

Resolutions honored the Baptist World Alliance, encouraged support for the mentally ill with ministry to their families, and described such behaviors as homosexuality, adultery, incest and pornography as distortions of a biblical, sexual ethic. BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade was presented a membership certificate from BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz signifying the recent acceptance of the state convention as a full member of the BWA.

TEXAS (SBTC) — In its first convention held in West Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention focused on “Reaching Texas, Touching the World” with a pre-convention Crossover Amarillo evangelistic outreach that resulted in 41 professions of faith after knocking on more than 3,000 doors during visits to area homes.

Messengers approved a slightly increased budget of nearly $19.25 million, continuing to lead the denomination by sending 53 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries. Stephen Swofford of First Baptist of Rockwall was elected president. Resolutions affirmed traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, Intelligent Design and the role and responsibility of parents in deciding how their children will be educated.

VIRGINIA (BGAV) — The Baptist General Convention of Virginia elected Bert Browning of Huguenot Road Baptist in Richmond as president. A slightly reduced budget of $14.4 million was approved, continuing to offer three pre-set giving channels that benefit the SBC, CBF or both or allowing churches to decide their own allocations. Through the first track, 34 percent goes to SBC causes while the second track allocates 28 percent for selected SBC, CBF and other causes. All of the out-of-state allocations in the third track go to CBF.

A signing ceremony during the annual meeting inaugurated the mission partnership with the Indian Baptist Convention of Kerala. Resolutions expressed appreciation for disaster relief efforts, churches and state Baptist leaders continuing to serve during budget shortfalls and the anniversary of Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center. Another resolution urged elected and military leaders to protect the free expression of faith by military members while pressure on others to conform to any particular faith expression.

VIRGINIA (SBCV) — At the largest gathering in its nine-year history, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia approved an $8.2 million budget, up 5.8 percent over the current year while continuing to send 50 percent to the SBC for national and international missions and ministries.

With a theme of “Renewing Your Passion,” messengers re-elected Carl Weiser of Hyland Heights Baptist in Lynchburg as president and recognized disaster relief volunteers. Resolutions addressed homosexuality in education, judicial nominations, disaster relief, Intelligent Design and appreciation for President George W. Bush and the military.

WEST VIRGINIA — Messengers to the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists approved a flat budget of $2.6 million, continuing to forward 37.5 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes. With a theme of “Empowering Kingdom Growth: Strong Foundations for a Strong Future,” messengers elected C.J. Adkins of Westmoreland Baptist in Huntington as president.

Resolutions supported the display of the Ten Commandments in public and private locations and encouraged biblical teachings related to homosexuality by asking Christians to separate themselves from “any who accept this perversion as normal” and to “seek to lovingly lead those who are involved in homosexuality to a right relationship with Jesus.”

WYOMING – The Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention, with a theme of “Being Built Together for God’s Glory,” elected Quin Williams of Casper as president and approved a $1.32 million budget, up nearly $75,000 over the current year. The convention will continue to allocate 32.25 percent of CP receipts to SBC causes.

Constitution and bylaw changes addressed executive board officer elections and made Mountain Top Baptist Assembly a sole proprietor entity.
Compiled by Tammi Reed Ledbetter.

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