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Utah-Idaho Baptists greet exec, support Baptist Faith & Message

BOISE, Idaho (BP)–The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention greeted new Executive Director Tim Clark to his first annual meeting, Oct. 23-24 at Calvary Baptist Church in Boise. Messengers also passed resolutions embracing the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and voicing patriotism and prayer in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Clark, a Nebraska native, was pastor of Pine Lake Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Ga., when he was called unanimously by the UISBC executive board May 11 as the convention’s executive director, succeeding Jim Harding, who left the post to become pastor of First Baptist Church, West Valley City, Utah.

Clark, 50, began his new responsibilities on May 21. In addition to his Georgia pastorate, Clark has led churches in Alaska, Texas and Wyoming. He and his wife, Glenda, have three adult children.

Messengers to the October annual meeting welcomed the Clarks during an evening reception.

“I believe that God has led us to a man who will provide godly leadership for Utah-Idaho,” Randy Myers, a member of the convention’s search committee, said at the time of Clark’s selection.

Clark received a doctor of ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Florida on May 18 after earlier earning a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and an undergraduate degree from Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas.

The convention’s resolution on the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message noted that Utah-Idaho Baptists “are in doctrinal unity and free and joyful compliance with all of the revised [SBC statement of beliefs], including in particular” the section on the family.

The resolution stated that Utah-Idaho Southern Baptists “declare our renewed commitment” to the BFM “when and wherever there is opportunity.”

In the convention sermon, Rodger Russell, pastor of Holladay Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, spoke on how God’s Word applies to what has happened in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington and western Pennsylvania.

“We as pastors and leaders should guard our attitudes and hearts so that they don’t become angry and seek vengeance,” Russell said.

Christians are called to love their enemies, he reminded, noting that God’s offer of grace is open even to one’s worst enemy. Believers must never forget the power of the love of Christ, he said.

In light of the events of Sept. 11 and the continuing threat to America, messengers approved a resolution to seek God’s grace and mercy on America and to pray for President Bush. The resolution urged messengers to take advantage of every opportunity to win men and women to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dan Robinson, pastor of Pierce Park Baptist Church, Boise, and an Army National Guard chaplain, opened the meeting with prayer for the nation and the military men and women who risk their lives to protect it.

The convention’s church planting consultant, Paul Rodriguez, sang “God Bless the USA” bringing the 196 messengers and visitors to their feet with applause.

In other business:

— Messengers approved a $2,169,853 budget, roughly the same as the 2001 budget. However, the Cooperative Program dollars needed from Utah-Idaho churches to meet the budget is up by almost $40,000, from $648,484 in 2001 to $687,877 in 2002. Utah-Idaho will continue to send 21 percent of undesignated receipts to support Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries, the same percentage as last year.

— Eric Frye, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, was reelected to serve a second term as president. For first vice president, Don Woody, pastor of First Baptist Church, Glenns Ferry, Idaho, defeated Mike Palmer, pastor of Salmon Valley Baptist Church, Salmon, Idaho. Palmer was then elected without opposition as second vice president, as was Terri Korn, layperson from Calvary Baptist Church, Boise, Idaho, for recording secretary.

— Four new churches were accepted for membership in the convention: Anchor Baptist Church and New Life Christian Fellowship, Boise, Idaho; Calvary Baptist Fellowship, Rupert, Idaho; and South Valley Baptist Church, Riverton, Utah.

— Recording secretary Mary McFarling was honored for her service over the past five years. She declined nomination for another term because she has been elected as state WMU president.

— Mitch Martin, the convention’s missions consultant, recognized two missionary couples who are retiring. James and Barbara Brandon were honored for 10 years of service with the Treasure Valley Baptist Association, where he has been director of missions, while Huron and Edie Polnac were recognized for 30 years of work as church planters in Idaho and Utah. Both couples will remain in the area after their retirement Dec. 31.

— Dennis Stoneman, chairman of the convention’s constitution committee, presented a proposed change to the constitution that would clarify how executive board officers are elected. According to the proposal, elected officers of the convention also would serve as officers of the executive board. The proposed change will be reviewed by the executive board and then voted on at next year’s annual meeting.

— Elected to three-year terms on the executive board were Don Giddens, pastor, First Baptist Church, Blanding, Utah; Scott Maxwell, pastor, Red Hills Southern Baptist Church, Cedar City, Utah; Dave Huffman, pastor, Priest River Baptist Church, Priest River, Idaho; Ginger Walcker, Baptist Campus Ministries director, Pocatello, Idaho; and Curt Stackpole, pastor, First Baptist Church, Brigham City, Utah.

— The York-Dillman State Missions Offering was featured during the Monday evening missions celebration. The 2001 offering goal of $155,000 includes a challenge goal of $77,500 for a satellite campus of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Just under $75,000 had been received through Oct. 22, approximately 25 percent ahead of the offering’s pace through the same period last year. Four churches were recognized for doubling their average gifts over the last three years and 14 for doubling their best total in three years.

— A highlight of the meeting was the introduction of an Idaho woman who left Oct. 26 for an appointment as a short-term missionary with the International Mission Board. Her name and the area where she will serve cannot be disclosed for safety reasons. She shared a brief testimony of God’s call, recounting, “After four years and a lot of expense, God softened my heart and opened the door to put me in exactly the right place. I have never been more content in my life.” Clint Henry, pastor of Cherry Lane Baptist Church, Meridian, Idaho, and a trustee to the IMB, led in a prayer of dedication for the new missionary.

— Lu Gilman, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church, Pocatello, Idaho, moved that the minutes of the 37th “Walk the Walk”-themed annual meeting be dedicated to Ray and Karen Runner. Runner, who pastored Willow Bay Baptist Church in American Falls, Idaho, for 20 years, died Dec. 31. The motion passed unanimously.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 22-23 at Mountainview Baptist Church, Layton, Utah.

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