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Tenn. Baptists to weigh end of ties to Belmont Univ.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Members of the Tennessee Baptist Convention executive board failed to approve a proposed covenant of affiliation between Belmont University and the TBC Sept. 13, leaving the future relationship between the two entities in jeopardy.

Belmont has been a TBC-affiliated entity since 1951 but in recent months university trustees had expressed the intention to allow non-Baptists to comprise up to 40 percent of their board of trustees. Belmont made such a proposal in the covenant of affiliation document it submitted to the TBC for approval.

TBC executive board members have balked at that idea and, by a 44-29 vote, rejected a recommendation from the convention’s education committee to approve the covenant.

After the vote, the TBC executive board tabled a motion that would have addressed the future relationship between the two entities, preferring instead to give Belmont’s trustees an opportunity to respond before the next executive board meeting Nov. 14.

Belmont and two other Tennessee Baptist universities, Union University at Jackson and Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, each receive $2.3 million in funding annually from the TBC. If Belmont and the TBC ultimately sever their relationship, Tennessee Baptists may decide at their annual meeting in November what to do with Belmont’s funding.

Members of the TBC executive board unanimously approved covenant documents from Union and Carson-Newman.

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