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WRAP-UP: N.Y. Baptists endorse Davis College

FLUSHING, N.Y. (BP)–The Baptist Convention of New York has entered a cooperative relationship with Davis College, approved during the BCNY annual meeting at the Korean Church of Queens in Flushing, N.Y.

Messengers also increased the convention’s giving for Cooperative Program national and international missions and ministries.

A total of 114 messengers representing 52 of the convention’s 428 churches and church plants were in attendance, along with 50-plus visitors.

Reflecting the theme of “Hear the Cries of the World” for the Sept. 24-25 sessions, workshops were offered to assist in outreach, church growth and other key areas of ministry.

Messengers approved a $3,504,537 budget for the coming year, up $60,000 over the current budget.

The budget increases by .25 percent the allocation of Cooperative Program gifts from BCNY churches for SBC causes, moving to 27.25 percent of more than an $875,000 anticipated in Cooperative Program giving from the churches. The remaining 72.75 percent of Cooperative Program gifts will support the New York convention’s outreach.

Terry Robertson, BCNY executive director, told messengers the “increase to the Cooperative Program is one step closer to the goal of giving 50 percent to CP [North American and global missions].”

Messengers re-elected Ted Harvey, pastor of Somerset Hills Baptist Church in Basking Ridge, N.J., as president, along with Rick Wilburn, pastor of Tupper Lake Baptist Church in Tupper Lake, N.Y., first vice president; William Page, pastor of Terrill Road Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, N.Y, second vice president; and David Shepherd, director of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary’s northeast branch in Schenectady, recording secretary.

The Davis College recommendation, Robertson told Baptist Press, formalizes a fraternal relationship that already had existed informally for decades.

With about 300 students, the Binghamton-area college, according to its website, is “Bible-centered” and is “committed to making an impact upon the world for Jesus Christ by the fostering of Christian character and the equipping of students with the knowledge, competencies and skills needed in an ever-changing world for service and leadership within the church, Christian organizations and society.”

Founded in 1900 as the Practical Bible Training School by a young evangelist, John A. Davis, the school has no official denominational connection but embraces fundamentals of the Christian faith common among Southern Baptists. In August 2004, the institution’s name changed to Davis College, a Practical College of Bible and Ministry.

Robertson said the recommendation “was driven by the fact that we already have a relationship with the institution, as we were interacting in significant ways. A number of our pastors are graduates and many of our church members are students at the college.”

The BCNY-Davis College relationship “is an answer to prayer,” Robertson said, citing the early days of Southern Baptist work in the state and the ministry of Norman Bell, a pioneering “legendary pastor” who became a director of missions in New York’s north country.

“I discovered the relationship had been a dream of some of the early folks in this convention,” Robertson said, recounting that Bell — who was instrumental in the formation of the BCNY — many years ago had gathered pastors and close friends to pray for the day when Davis College and the BCNY would be more closely related.

The recommendation messengers approved reads, “That the BCNY pass a resolution recommending Davis College as a Christian College which would be appropriate for students from our churches, and establishing a voluntary and cooperative relationship or endorsement and partnership between the BCNY and Davis College. We recommend Davis College to all Southern Baptists as an accredited, quality four-year college that embraces Southern Baptists.”

Next year’s annual meeting will be Sept. 21-23 at the Word of Life Conference Center in Schroon Lake, N.Y.

The BCNY serves churches of New York State, northern New Jersey, southwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, as well as Cornwall and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Norm Miller is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Va.

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