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West Virginia Baptists celebrate 30th anniversary; boost CP gifts

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (BP)–Nearly 300 messengers and visitors from West Virginia Southern Baptist congregations celebrated their convention’s 30th anniversary as well as the Cooperative Program’s 75th anniversary during their Nov. 3-4 annual meeting in the eastern panhandle city of Martinsburg.

Formed in 1970, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists now includes nearly 200 churches, chapels and Bible study fellowships. Friday evening’s convention session honored the charter churches through a special processional featuring banners for each congregation, followed by a recognition of the churches now comprising the WVCSB.

Messengers adopted a 2001 Cooperative Program budget of $1,109,627, with 37 percent of the church’s gifts dedicated to world missions outside West Virginia through the Southern Baptist Convention. The 2001 CP commitment represents a one-half percent increase in budget percentage from 2000.

The WVCSB now has increased the portion of CP going to the SBC from 28.5 percent in 1995 to the 37 percent of 2001. West Virginians’ actual dollar gifts to the SBC have increased by nearly 70 percent during that period.

The convention’s overall 2001 budget will be $2,192,834, up $50,000 over the current year, with $1,109,627 coming from CP gifts and $1,083,207 coming from the state missions offering, interest income, the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources and Woman’s Missionary Union.

Messengers unanimously affirmed the Baptist Faith and Message statement of beliefs as adopted in June at the SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., as well as unanimously endorsing the traditional support of missions through the Cooperative Program and the relationship between the WVCSB and the SBC.

Changes to the bylaws were also approved, including one establishing a Christian Life Committee.

Messengers elected new officers without opposition: president, Don Yeager, pastor of Fairlawn Baptist Church, Parkersburg; first vice president, Richard Carbaugh, pastor of First Baptist Church, Grandview; second vice president, Johnny Kelly, pastor of Westview Baptist, Martinsburg. Fred Morgan, a layman from Fairlawn Baptist Church, Parkersburg, was re-elected recording secretary.

Bill Merrell, Martin King, and Ben Wolf brought greetings and reports on behalf of the SBC Executive Committee, the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board, respectively. Other guests from outside West Virginia included Carlisle Driggers, executive director for South Carolina Baptists, John Sullivan, executive director for Florida Baptists, and Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Partners in the Harvest” was the theme of the convention, hosted by Martinsburg’s Westview Baptist Church and the Tri-County Baptist Association.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 2-3 at Fairlawn Baptist Church, Parkersburg.

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  • John Adams