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WRAP-UP: EC actions include 1-year seminary reallocation to aid NOBTS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee approved a request Feb. 23 from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to include full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment at its North Georgia extension campus with its main campus FTE numbers in determining the seminary’s allocation in the Cooperative Program’s funding formula for the 2010-11 budget year.

New Orleans Seminary says the additional money received in the formula will help in its continuing recovery from the damage done by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Campus housing is completely full, seminary officials say, and 92 campus apartments that were destroyed have not been replaced.

The seminary experienced a shift in its enrollment due to the storm, with the percentage of its students enrolled at the main campus dropping from 55 percent to 45 percent, New Orleans Seminary trustee chairman Craig Campbell said.

A three-year freeze on the seminary’s pre-Katrina enrollment numbers — approved by the Executive Committee in 2005 — has ended. Seminary officials say it is more fair to tie any boost in CP money to actual students than it would be to extend the freeze.

The request for the one-year seminary reallocation was approved by the Executive Committee by voice vote without any “no” votes, but only after a motion to table the request failed, 38-26. Several Executive Committee members expressed concern that when the EC’s Cooperative Program Subcommittee studied the request earlier in the day, only three of the six seminary presidents were present to give their input.

Executive Committee vice chairman Roger L. Spradlin made the motion to table the recommendation.

“Whenever we have addressed the formula it’s always been in consultation with all of the seminary presidents,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they’re always going to agree, but at least it’s been in consultation with all of them.”

EC chairman Randall James gave a brief report on the search for a successor to EC President Morris H. Chapman, who will retire Sept. 30 after 18 years in the post.

James later told Baptist Press, “We have been working for the last six months steadily and aggressively. We’re making progress. We are searching for God’s man, not any particular favorite that we might have. We’re thankful for all the names [submitted for consideration]. In fact, I believe most any name that was nominated could do the job. But we want to find God’s man to do the job. We know He already has somebody picked out, and we’re not going to be satisfied until we are unanimous over who that person is.”

In other business the Executive Committee, in its Feb. 22-23 meeting:

— approved the 2010-2011 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget of $199,822,090 for recommendation to the Southern Baptist Convention during its June 15-16 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

The proposed budget maintains current allocations to the convention’s ministries, including 50 percent of receipts to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board. The convention’s six seminaries will receive 21.92 percent. The seminary enrollment formula as adjusted for New Orleans Seminary will be: Southern Seminary, 4.88 percent; Southwestern Seminary, 4.86 percent; New Orleans Seminary, 4.29 percent; Southeastern Seminary, 3.98 percent; Golden Gate Seminary, 1.90 percent; and Midwestern Seminary, 2.01 percent. (Cumulative numbers may not match the sum of individual seminary percentages due to rounding.)

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission would continue to receive 1.65 percent of the budget, while the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives would receive .24 percent.

The SBC Operating Budget, the only CP-funded facilitating ministry, encompassing the SBC annual meeting costs and the work of the Executive Committee, would receive 3.40 percent of the budget.

-– recommended to messengers at the June annual meeting in Orlando that Houston replace Nashville as the site of the 2013 SBC annual meeting, changing the dates of the convention to June 11-12. According to Executive Committee staff, the construction of Nashville’s Music City Center may not be completed in time for the originally scheduled SBC dates of June 18-19, 2013. Thus, the Executive Committee opted to accept a proposal from the city of Houston to host the meeting.

— recommended to messengers that Columbus, Ohio, be selected as the site of the 2015 annual meeting, slated for June 16-17. Current plans are for SBC annual meetings to be held in 2011 in Phoenix, June 14-15; 2012, New Orleans, June 19-20; and 2014, Baltimore, June 10-11.

— recommended continuing the World Hunger Fund allocation of 80 percent of receipts to the International Mission Board and 20 percent to the North American Mission Board. A motion made by messenger Steve Nelson of Tennessee, which was referred to the Executive Committee from last year’s SBC annual meeting, had called for two-thirds of WHF donations to be allocated to the IMB and one-third to NAMB.

— adopted a resolution of appreciation for James M. Porch, who will retire Aug. 31 after 18 years as executive director-treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The resolution noted a number of milestones under Porch’s leadership, including an increase in Tennessee Baptists’ Cooperative Program support for SBC missions and ministry causes from 35.9 percent to 40 percent of their budget; missions partnerships with 10 additional nations; and the doubling of ethnic churches to more than 150.

— authorized a 2.7 percent increase in Executive Committee salary structure for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The EC staff, however, is still under a salary freeze.

— elected John Blackman and Marshall Albritton, both of Nashville, to serve as Southern Baptist Foundation trustees beginning in June for a three-year to expire in 2013. Blackman is a retired vice president and senior portfolio manager from SunTrust Bank who previously served on the foundation’s board from 2003-09. Albritton is an attorney with Parker, Lawrence, Cantrell & Dean who previously on the foundation’s board from 1993-96.

— received notification that Barry C. McCarty will serve again as chief parliamentarian during this June’s annual meeting.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Michael Foust and editor Art Toalston.

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