Cullowhee church may be removed from association
April 26 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Cullowhee church may be removed from association | Friday, April 26, 2002

Friday, April 26, 2002

Cullowhee church may be removed from association

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

A Tuckaseigee Baptist Association committee is recommending that a church with a woman co-pastor be removed from the association.

The association's credentials committee voted 3-2 on April 23 that Cullowhee Baptist Church is in violation of the association's bylaws, according to a member of the committee. By the same vote, the committee recommended that the church's messengers not be seated at the association's annual meeting in October and that the church be removed from the association "unless corrective action is taken," the committee member said.

The committee said the church is in violation of two sections of the association bylaws.

One section says that the association is composed of Baptist churches "in cooperating fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention and following the teachings of the New Testament."

The church does not financially support the Southern Baptist Convention.

The other section says the association may "withdraw from any church which has become unscriptural in its doctrine or practices."

The chairman, Cecil Frady, and two members of the committee declined to talk about the meeting or the votes, saying the meeting was closed.

Another committee member and the association's interim director of missions could not be reached for comment.

Wilma Cosper, who is serving in her second year on the committee and is a member of Cullowhee, provided details of the meeting in a telephone interview. She said that the committee was not unanimous in its desire to keep details of the meeting secret.

Cosper said Frady did not vote. Two other clergy on the committee voted for the moves with Cosper and Bill Ansley voting against them. Claude Conard, interim director of missions for the association and an ex officio member of the committee, voted for the motions, Cosper said.

Conard told the Recorder in March that he was "somewhat neutral" on the issue because he is "pastor of all the churches" in the association.

Cosper said there was some discussion about whether Conard could vote since he is an ex officio member of the committee.

The association's by-laws say the director of missions is an ex officio member of all committees and program departments of the association. It does not say whether the ex officio membership includes voting rights.

Cosper said she couldn't recall if Conard had voted in previous meetings.

Cosper said there is also a question about the qualifications of two committee members. The association bylaws say the credentials committee should include "three pastors and two laymen."

Frady and another clergy member are not currently pastors, Cosper said.

Cosper said the votes were disturbing.

"I told them at the end of the meeting that this was a sad day," she said. "I was ashamed to be a part of it."

The votes came about three and a half months after the association's Pastors' Conference sent a letter to the committee urging its members to "take immediate action" regarding the church. The pastors said they concluded "that there are matters of doctrine and practice within Cullowhee Baptist Church that do not conform to the clear teachings of the New Testament."

The head of the Pastors' Conference said having a woman co-pastor is "a major doctrinal error according to scripture."

The issue is expected to be brought before the association's executive committee at its next meeting in July. The association could consider the matter at its annual meeting in October.

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4/26/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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