State Convention planning teams drop WMU-NC
    September 12 2008 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) has been excised from Baptist State Convention (BSC) of North Carolina staff teams charged with planning and conducting several special events.

    WMU-NC Executive Director Ruby Fulbright announced in the fall edition of the WMU publication Tarheel Talk that her organization had been “uninvited” from several teams, including the Women’s Prayer Evangelism Conference in which it has participated from the first.

    She said the exclusion of WMU from involvement in that conference, as well as the multi-cultural team, new minister’s orientation and basic training for church planters was the decision of BSC leadership alone.

    “We had every intention of continuing and valued the teamwork opportunities,” Fulbright said in her Tarheel Talk article, which reaches approximately 24,000 households.

    “I wanted you to know about these new developments because I do not understand why this has happened,” said Fulbright, who then asked readers to pray.

    Doug Baker, BSC public relations director, said Fulbright’s comments “came as a shock” to many in the BSC staff offices in Cary. He said WMU is no longer included on those planning groups because WMU staff is no longer BSC staff.

    “In the wake of the WMU-NC’s resignation from the BSCNC staff, many changes came as a result of their voluntary departure,” Baker said. “These teams are, by design, formed to coordinate internal processes across ministry teams within the Baptist Building in their effort for improved service to North Carolina Baptist churches.  

    “They are accountable for their progress to the BSCNC administration and work to implement the directives of BSCNC leadership. No outside personnel are included:  they remain as they always have been — staff teams for staff work.”

    Fulbright said the Women’s Prayer Evangelism Conference planning team included members from outside BSC staff. She said she was told there might be “tension” and a “conflict of interest” if WMU were to remain on the planning committee when the BSC adopts a proposed new women’s ministry, tentatively called Embrace.

    “Our commitment remains — to continue to work with individuals, churches and associations in the BSC,” Fulbright said. “It was our desire to continue to work in partnership with the leadership of the BSC.”

    As a missions organization, WMU wants to continue its involvement with new churches to help establish a “missions DNA” in those churches, and to offer resources for which new churches often are desperate, Fulbright said.

    She concluded her column by asking readers to pray that WMU be “like our Savior, sensitive and obedient to the Father’s direction, loving Him and sharing that love with all the world.”

    WMU and BSC leadership have been at odds since April 2006 when WMU, fearing that BSC leadership would move to control WMU staff hiring, unilaterally adopted a change in language describing the relationship between the two entities from “auxiliary” to “partner.”

    That move caught BSC leaders by surprise and prompted nearly two years of tense but civil interaction that finally resulted in WMU staff resigning as members of the BSC staff and in WMU moving from the BSC staff building into their own offices.

    Resigning cost WMU the $1.2 million it received in Cooperative Program and North Carolina Missions Offering support. WMU maintains that it remains true to its historic purpose of mission support and providing mission education resources for churches.

    9/12/2008 12:37:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 5 comments
    Filed under: BSC, North Carolina, WMU

Linda Ruffin
I was just wondering if the folk who feel that the WMUNC does not deserve to have any imput to the future activities of the BSC also feel that when a child moves out of the home of the parents they are no longer a family member. Do they not count for anything at all? Are they never again invited to be a part of decisions that affect the whole family and are replaced by a new child. WMUNC moved out of the building but not out of the world...They still are an important part of the missions work, growth, and education of the Baptist churches in North Carolina.
9/17/2008 9:55:30 AM

WMU NC has always been on a journey. The relocation of WMU NC to the new office in Raleigh was another step along that journey. The journey has not and is not for the light-hearted, but for those that strive to "love Jesus and do missions", despite the bumps in the road. Like Dorothy on the yellow brick road, Ruby Fulbright has not taken this walk alone. She has the support and counsel of the WMU NC staff and board as well as individuals and churches who appreciate WMU's missions education, missions involvement and missions promotion. Of course there are lions, and tigers, and bears and maybe even a witch with flying-monkeys, but they are not the real scare. The real scare is the ever-present control over Baptist brothers and sisters that have worked with WMU NC through various mission programs for many years. They appreciate the value of WMU NC and have maintained a positive realtionship with them during this journey. Yet now their journey together has ended, while WMU NC takes another step. WMU NC has been uninvited by the convention but they have an open invitation (Matthew 28:19-20) to continue the work of missions in North Carolina and around the world. WMU NC returned its RSVP to that invitation in 1886 and continues to honor it today.
9/16/2008 11:49:46 AM

The day WMU stops crying out to be rescued and forges a compelling identity for the future is the day they stop dying. Until that day, they will be the Baptist version of the Daughters of the Confederacy, still remembering the old songs sung around campfires in Dixie.
9/12/2008 8:48:52 AM

You've said it in a nutshell Artist. An additional perspective is what BSC loses by excluding WMU or anyone else from the table. If WMU was making a valuable contribution when it was genetically tied to the BSC, might it not still bring valuable insights and perspectives to those planning groups now that the umbilical cord is cut? They didn't leave their brains behind when they left the Cary offices. Second, relationships are everything. Strangers don't have meaningful interactions. Those come about only when participates know and respect each other and willingly work together for the common good. If WMU brought valuable contributions in the past, excluding them loses that contribution for the future.
9/12/2008 8:16:34 AM

As a so-called "moderate" Baptist who's long been a supporter of WMU, I cannot understand their inability to understand the ramifications of their independence. They made a conscious, free choice to remove themselves from the Baptist building and run their own ship, which I wholeheartedly support. But then they keep whining because they're not in the state missions offering, and the mean old BSCNC is excluding them! It makes them look silly.

You can't have your own autonomy and then expect other groups to adjust theirs to suit you.
9/12/2008 7:35:43 AM

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