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Utah-Idaho Baptists mark 35th year, target strengthened financial base

BOISE, Idaho (BP)–Utah-Idaho Southern Baptists celebrated 35 years of history while making plans to prepare for the future during their Nov. 9-10 annual meeting at Calvary Baptist Church, Boise, Idaho.
The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention’s first annual meeting was Oct. 29-30, 1964.
Eleven people were in attendance at the 1999 meeting who were also at that first meeting. Those pioneers stood while Jim Harding, executive director, read the original motion to form the convention. A reception followed the Wednesday evening session to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the convention, which now numbers 150 churches and missions.
Bea Conrad, WMU consultant, was recognized for her 15 years of service to the convention. Conrad, who is retiring in December, was one of those present in 1964. She and her husband, Bruce, came to Utah in July of that year to work with Native Americans. They received a standing ovation from the messengers.
“God uses us and calls us to things we never think we’ll do, but he empowers us for whatever he calls us to,” Conrad said.
Looking to the future, messengers voted unanimously to form the Utah-Idaho Baptist Foundation and to approve the 12-member board of trustees selected to oversee the foundation. A task force began studying the feasibility of a foundation just over a year ago. At the September executive board meeting, approval was granted for the recommendation of the foundation to the annual meeting.
“This foundation will provide for missions work at a far greater magnitude than we can now,” Harding said. “It is our only means of moving away from the hand-to-mouth operations.” All those chosen to serve as foundation trustees are Utah or Idaho Southern Baptists who work in banking, finance or as lawyers, and some are bivocational pastors.
The foundation’s initial trustees are Michael Pless, Wayne Scott, Lewis Blurton, Gary McKean, Judy Barking, Carroll Reynolds, Danny Piggott, Bill Pepper, David York and Allen Lusby. The executive director and president of the convention also will serve on the board by virtue of their position.
In another move to become more financially independent, messengers approved a $2,052,009 total budget, an increase of 7 percent over 1999.
Most of the increase is due to a change in the ratio of participation with the SBC North American Mission Board. For the last 35 years, that ratio has been 92-8. The 2000 budget changes that ratio to 91-9, which increases Utah-Idaho’s portion of the budget by just over $13,000. Utah-Idaho will continue to send 21 percent of undesignated receipts to Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program causes.
Recognizing the need for prayer and revival in the new millennium, the executive board’s program committee proposed a four-point resolution to be implemented in 2000, which was unanimously approved and applauded by the messengers, totaling 171 for the two-day meeting.
The specific initiatives of prayer are: 1) On four Wednesday nights, all churches will be encouraged to participate in fervent meetings of corporate prayer. 2) Throughout 2000, all churches will be encouraged to establish evangelistic church prayer ministries. 3) Throughout 2000, all churches will be encouraged to combine fervent prayer with all evangelism and church-planting strategies. 4) The Utah-Idaho convention will develop a statewide network of continuous prayer for revival and evangelism.
Messengers adopted a resolution of appreciation to the Georgia Baptist Convention for their support of the upcoming Salt Lake City Olympic ministry and for making it possible for Beth Ann Williams to oversee the program. In another resolution, the convention also offered sympathy and prayer support for Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Keith Markham, pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church, Layton, Utah, was elected to a second term as president. Mary McFarling, secretary at Calvary Baptist Church, Idaho Falls, was also re-elected as recording secretary. New officers are Clint Henry, pastor of Cherry Lane Baptist Church, Meridian, Idaho, as first vice president and Ray Shirley, pastor of Valley Baptist Church, Hagerman, Idaho, as second vice president, both the lone nominees for the posts.
Three new churches were received as members of the convention: Boise River Community Baptist Church, Pine, Idaho; Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hyrum, Utah; and New Hope Fellowship, Syracuse, Utah.
Beginning in 2000, the annual meeting will be moved to late October to reduce the possibility of bad weather. Holladay Baptist Church will host the Oct. 24-25 sessions.

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  • Debbie Ward