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W.Va. continues boosting Cooperative Program giving

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (BP)–West Virginia Baptists continued an upward swing in Cooperative Program support of Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries during their Nov. 7-8 annual meeting.
Messengers adopted a record budget of $1,866,156 for 1998, a 4 percent increase over ’97. They also approved raising the percentage of undesignated receipts for SBC causes from 35 to 35.5 percent. The convention moved from 29.5 percent to 35 percent this year.
With a record 13.2 percent increase in receipts from the state’s 180-plus churches and chapels during the 1996-97 fiscal year, West Virginia Southern Baptists ranked second in the SBC in percentage increase in dollars for SBC causes.
Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, who delivered the convention’s keynote address, also recognized the WVCSB for its increase of nearly 36 percent in giving to SBC Cooperative Program causes in 1997 over 1996.
“Forward … Following Jesus” was the convention’s theme, attended by 211 messengers at North Charleston Baptist Church.
The convention celebrated the increase in new church starts by over 300 percent over the previous year; the initial SBC World Changers project in West Virginia, in Charleston this summer; and the first semester of the new West Virginia Baptist Bible Institute with 40 students in six locations statewide and 80 students on the Internet. West Virginia was one of the first, if not the first, state convention to offer Seminary Extension studies over the Internet.
Mark McClung, pastor of Southern Baptist Fellowship, Summersville, was elected by acclamation to a second term as convention president. Kenny Stidham, pastor of Good Shepherd Baptist Church, was elected first vice president and Don Yeager, pastor of Fairlawn Baptist Church, Parkersburg, second vice president, also by acclamation.
Plans were initiated for a prayer partnership with Southern Baptist International Mission Board Middle East workers in Gaza and the West Bank and to participate in 1999 simultaneous revivals across West Virginia.
Resolutions opposing further expansion of legalized gambling in the state and expressing appreciation for the host church passed without opposition.
The Friday night session featured a parade of more than 130 flags from around the world. Rose Crane, a dramatist from South Carolina, portrayed the life of famed missionary to China Lottie Moon, with a missions sermon by Don Kammerdiener, IMB executive vice president.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 6-7 at Davis- Elkins College in Elkins.