April 2005

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 2: The Birth of the Conference : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Eugene B. Hager

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 2: The Birth of the Conference : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 2: The Birth of the Conference

By Eugene B. Hager

The decade of the 1950's began with the associational missionaries still attending the State Convention Annual Planning Conference, held sometimes at Fruitland and other times at Caswell. Their numbers were growing as more associations added workers to their staff. However, the associational missionaries had not yet organized their own con- ference. Many were joining the N. C. Baptist Educational Workers Conference. And many were serving as officers in that Conference. In November 1951, Ed Echerd, Jr. ("Promotional Secretary" of the Mecklenburg Association) was elected President of the Educational Workers Conference (reported in the December 8, 1951 Biblical Recorder, p. 13). Note this quotation from that article:

The organization which he will direct as president is com- posed of the education and music leadership in the local churches. Associational missionaries of North Carolina are also a part of this conference.

More than 200 were in attendance upon the annual meet- ing held in Asheville on November 12. In November 1954, R. T. Green (Cabarrus Association) was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the Educational Directors Conference. (They had three vice presidents: an educational director, a music director, and an associational missionary.)

As noted earlier, the annual statewide Planning Conference, begun in December 1946 at Fruitland, was an important step for associational missionaries in North Carolina. It brought them together as a group from across the state. In those early days most associational missionaries had small travel allowances (and sometimes none at all). The State Convention took care of the travel and lodging for these conferences. It provided an opportunity for them to get acquainted with one another. They enjoyed fellowship with co-workers and made lasting friendships. They compared methods, problems, and solutions in associational work. Also, the information, training, and planning provided by these conferences were invaluable. The numerous books, manuals, and other materials on associational work that we know today had not yet been written. Those were pioneering days for associational missionaries. This writer considers the pioneering period to extend from the beginning of the modern associational missionary movement in North Carolina to the Gulfshore Conference (1942-1963). One could argue that several years of follow-up to the Gulfshore Conference should be included. If that were done, the pioneering period would extend to the mid 1960's.

At some point, the State Convention allowed the missionaries to elect a Program Committee to have input into the programs for the Annual Planning Conference. The Convention still "owned" the Planning Conference. But this gave the missionaries a chance to include topics dealing with associational missions along with the usual infor- mation and promotion from members of the State Convention staff. Those serving on the Program Committee for 1953-1954 were: Harvie Brewington, Chairman (Burnt Swamp), Ruth Bagwell, Secretary (Rowan), Elizabeth Campbell (Caldwell), J. D. Barnette (Robeson), and H. M. Hocutt (Buncombe). This writer does not know whether this was the first such committee or whether there had been others in prior years. No doubt this helped plant the idea in the minds of the associational missionaries that they ought to elect a slate of officers and have an "Associational Missionaries Conference." That idea came to fruition in 1955. By then the Annual Planning Conference had been moved from December to the summer (at least as early as 1949). In 1955 it met at Caswell on July 25-29. Apparently, it was at this meeting at Caswell that a Nominating Committee was selected to bring nominations for officers to be elected in November. The Educational Workers Conference (in which a number of associational missionaries had held membership) usually met the day before the annual session of the Baptist State Convention. The associational missionaries would meet on November 14 to hear the report of their Nominating Committee. The officers they elected would plan and preside at their first annual session as the N. C. Associational Missionaries Conference, July 30-August 3, 1956 at Caswell. These first officers were:

President --- John W. Beam (Catawba River)

Vice President --- Elizabeth Campbell (Caldwell)

Secretary --- W. Van Carroll (Liberty)

Song Leader --- Guthrie Colvard (Atlantic)

These officers were instructed to serve as a committee "to restudy the relationship that was severed from the Educational and Music Directors Conference." At the 1956 meeting this committee "recommended that we seek to rejoin that organization, but a motion was carried that we table the recommendation." (From the Minutes of the 1956 Summer Meeting, p. 3).

Thus, the N. C. Associational Missionaries Conference had evolved from the Annual Planning Meeting begun by the State Convention in 1946. At first, an attempt was made to continue much of the Planning Meeting in the program of the Associational Missionaries Conference. But with the growth of the State Convention Staff, there was not time enough to hear from all who wanted to be heard and still have time for the missionaries' own program. So, in 1959 the Convention reinstated the Annual Planning Meeting as a "Winter Meeting." It would be planned and led by the Convention Staff. The "Summer Meeting" would be planned and led by the associational missionaries. The State Convention would fund both meetings. (The associational missionaries simply did not have the resources to fund their own meeting). We owe a debt of gratitude to Convention leaders such as Dr. M. A. Huggins, Dr. Earl Bradley, and Dr. E. L. Spivey for their foresight, their understanding, and their generosity in this matter. They believed that a strong, yet independent, organization of associational missionaries was in the best interest of the Convention and worth the investment. Time has proved them right! Since the 1956 Annual Session was the first to be planned and led by the associational missionaries themselves (but in consultation with Dr. Bradley), the reader may be interested in the minutes of that meeting. A slightly condensed version of those minutes appears at the end of this chapter. Note the balance between promotion from the Convention Staff and the inclusion of topics of special interest to the associational missionaries themselves. Van Carroll was the Secretary. His tongue-in-cheek humor in writing the minutes reflects some of the good-natured kidding that went on among our peers in those days.

In 1958 the following committee was appointed to recommend a constitution for the Conference:

E. R. Echerd, Jr., Chairman (Mecklenburg)

J. Hoyt Roberson (Three Forks)

J. H. Mauney (Wilmington)

Also in 1958 the Conference began electing three vice presidents: one from the East, one from the Piedmont, and one from the West.

From early in the rise of the modern associational missionaries movement in North Carolina in the 1940's, someone on the staff of the State Convention has served as a contact person for the missionaries. The first was Dr. M. A. Huggins. He gave strong encouragement to the associations in securing associational missionaries. He arranged for financial aid from the Convention to most of those associations that did so. As noted earlier in this work (p. 4), Rev. G. W. Bullard was elected in 1946 to serve on the Convention Staff as Superintendent of Associational Missions. This was a full-time position. Lewis Ludlum, in his booklet (mentioned earlier) gives this evaluation of Bullard:

[His] excellent background of experience, his denominational loyalty, plus his many leadership talents made his election not only timely but also an excellent choice. When he left this position at the end of 1949, the missionaries expressed their appreciation of his work, reported in the Biblical Recorder, January 11, 1950, p. 9 as follows:

The associational missionaries of North Carolina have prepared resolutions expressing "unanimous and whole-hearted appreciation of the splendid leadership and counsel of Rev. G. W. Bullard, superintendent of associational missions work in North Carolina for the past several years." .... In part of the resolutions, prepared by a committee consisting of C. W. Bazemore, Lewis Ludlum, and Kathleen Frink, read as follows: "Brother Bullard has endeared himself to his workers, to the churches, and to his associates in the State Convention corps, as he has led in a vital, growing program of Baptist work over the State. He has been our true friend and counselor as he has inspired and encouraged us in all our labors for our Lord in this State from the mountains to the sea. We shall long remember his rich gift of under- standing, his vision, his devotion to duty, his comradeship, and his loyalty to all our Baptist work, in this important place of leadership."

This writer would like to suggest that if you read between the lines of the preceding quotation, you will sense the deep need on the part of the missionaries of those days for understanding and encouragement. Associational missions work was often discouraging in those early years! That fact is authenticated by these words written by Bullard in the January 18, 1950 Biblical Recorder, p. 14:

Those who attended the meeting at Fruitland, July 18-23, voiced their appreciation for such a conference and asked that a similar one be planned for 1950. Many have testified that they were discouraged to the point of resigning and these conferences made it possible for them to continue in the work. Others have said that the conference enabled them to continue with a greater degree of success. The above quotation is from an article written by Bullard just after he left his position with the Convention. In it he wrote: "In view of the fact that I left the employ of the Convention January 1, I feel that I can give some facts out of my knowledge of the work without prejudice and without anyone pointing to a selfish interest. I write out of a deep appreciation of the program and a genuine concern for its success in the future." It is quite appropriate to quote some of his observations made in that article (appearing on pages 6 and 14 in the January 18, 1950 Recorder):

History

The modern movement of associational missions began about ten years ago when some of the associations themselves saw the need of a full-time employee to serve among the churches and the unchurched areas. Other associations began to see the value of this sort of program and at present there are forty-five persons employed as missionaries or field workers with some ten or twelve other associations looking for suitable persons to be employed.

Program

The program of work followed by most of these workers is one of assisting the churches with their local work and in their efforts to reach the unchurched people in adjoining com- munities. The work in the local churches is usually upon the invitation of the pastor or local church leaders. That which is done in the unchurched areas is in co-operation with the churches, but usually at the direction of the missions or executive committee of the association.... Our experience has convinced us that the churches are helped more through the efforts of this program than by any other method tried in the past. These associational workers are near enough to the churches to win their confidence and visit as often as is necessary in order to assist with any undertaking which needs the efforts of an outside worker.

The Annual Conference

Since the first meeting at Fruitland in December, 1946, it has been the policy of the Convention to arrange an annual meeting of the associational missionaries. No effort has been made to plan or co-ordinate the activities of the workers except to avoid conflicts with the work of the various departments of the Convention in their efforts to assist the associations upon invitation. As each missionary will bear witness, no effort has been made to "make sure they followed the prescribed denominational program." If there has ever been presented a ready-made program which anyone was asked to "put over onto" the churches, I have no knowledge of it. These con- ferences have served to bring to the workers such informa- tion as they may find helpful in promoting the work which the associations have committed to them. Perhaps the greatest benefit comes through an exchange of ideas and experiences by the workers themselves.... - - - - - ...It has already been explained, however, that the associational workers are employees of the associations and the Convention has never considered that they were employees of the Convention. Obviously, there had been some apprehension about possible encroachment upon the autonomy of the associations and/or the churches. Both the associations and the Convention had to put such fears to rest.

Sometime thereafter the responsibility of working with the Associational Missionaries was assigned to Dr. Earle Bradley. This writer was not able to ascertain whether this was done in 1950 or later. Perhaps it was done in 1953 when Dr. Bradley became "Secretary of Promotion." Before that he had served as one of three "Field Workers" for the Convention. Since Bradley had other responsibilities also, the work with Associational Missionaries became part-time again. (It had been full-time only during the tenure of G. W. Bullard.) In his History, Lewis Ludlum wrote (p. 6): "Dr. Bradley was highly dedicated to this as an important part of his work. His enthusiasm, dedication, and strong leadership abilities made him very popular with the missionaries." He held this responsibility through December 1959. The Minutes of the Salisbury Workshop (December 1959) record (p. 10): "Mr. Mumford called on Elizabeth Campbell, missionary in the Caldwell Association, to say a word of appreciation to Earle Bradley. Miss Campbell expressed her appreciation on behalf of the missionaries in the form of a poem, and told Mr. Bradley he would find a 'reclining' chair at home upon his return - a gift from the Associational Missionaries." This writer was present at that meeting and sensed the high regard the Missionaries had for Dr. Bradley.

[On March 1, 1959 this writer became the Associational Missionary in the Eastern Association. From that point on he was an eyewitness and participant in the events recounted in this history. In addition to his memory, he has his daily logs, associational newsletters (complete sets) and other materials from those years.]

In 1956 the State Convention authorized the appointment of a Committee of Twenty-five. This committee was to survey "the full range of Baptist work in our State, searching for opportunities to make improvements, and developing recommendations that would enable the Convention to accelerate and expand its services to North Carolina Baptists." (Committee of 25 Report, p. 1). An outside management consultant firm, Booz, Allen and Hamilton, was employed to do a comprehensive survey of Baptist work in North Carolina and present findings and recommendations to the Committee of 25. The firm spoke highly of the potential of the associations as the units in Baptist life closest to the local churches. E. C. Watson (Missionary in the New South River Association) was a member of the Committee of 25. In a paper (Whither Associational Missions in North Carolina?) presented to our Conference in 1966, he reported (p. 6): It is also well to remember that they made the following observation: "associations are the weakest link in the flow of ideas between the Southern Baptist Convention, the state conventions, and the individual churches." They pointed out the deficiencies found and surmised that the Baptist State Convention should follow the associational missions approach for a few years, and unless it showed better results, they might wish to scrap it in favor of the area missionary plan. The Committee of 25 did not include this observation and recommendation in their Report adopted by the Convention in a special session in Raleigh in May 1959. Their Report did say (1959 Annual, p. 79):

The association is the key denominational promotional unit...Progress depends in large measure on the associational missionary and his volunteer associates. And their first two recommendations were: That the General Board require the Director of Missions to develop a complete program for strengthening the associations. That this include a clear, concise manual of responsibilities and duties of associational missionaries, and a brief statement of personnel qualifications for guidance of the associations in securing missionaries. The word "require" in the first recommendation appears to infringe on associational autonomy. In the second recommendation, the word "guidance" helps it to avoid that same infringement. The statement preceding the recommendations indicates how strongly the association was regarded as "the key denominational promotional unit." This concept would be confronted and dealt with later at the Gulfshore Conference in 1963. Responsibility for coordinating work with the associations was moved from the Promotion Department to the new Missions Division with Dr. E. L. Spivey as Director. Ludlum in his History (p. 6) comments: "To classify associational missions as a department of State Missions was a good step forward because it structurally and psychologically identified the program as 'missions' rather than 'promotion.' Needless to say, this change made an excellent contribution to our perennial search for identity."

Since Dr. Spivey was Director of the Division of Missions, the work with Associational Missionaries would continue to be part-time. Ludlum has this observation in his History (p. 7):

Perennially the question has been raised in our missionary group as to whether or not we should revert to the policy of having a staff member who would devote his full time to Associational Missions. There have been times, I am sure, when there would have been real advantages in this. But it would have some disadvantages too, I feel sure. Our loose, but at most times adequate, liaison with the Convention has been conducive to good relationships and quite in keeping with the Baptist concept of autonomy. It has likewise given us maximum freedom to pursue our own perennial search for identity as a part of world missions. Ludlum gives the following evaluation of Dr. Spivey in his History (p. 7):

The missionaries and folks throughout the state who got to know Dr. Spivey in relationship to this part of his work came to feel that his stimulating and imaginative leadership not only tended toward bringing the best out in us, but also helped us to relate well to other Baptist personnel and programs. This author was still in his first year as an Associational Missionary when Dr. Spivey assumed his new responsibilities. I found him to be friendly, understanding, and always available when I needed to talk with him. I was impressed by his high regard for the autonomy of the local association. As the 1950's came to a close, the stage was now set for us to join with our colleagues from across the Southern Baptist Convention to study and compare notes in our search for identity and our understanding of the best ways to relate to and work with the State Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention. That would be done at the first National Convocation of Associational Missionaries that was scheduled for Gulfshore (Baptist Assembly in Mississippi) in February of 1963.

ANNUAL SUMMER ASSEMBLY OF ASSOCIATIONAL MISSIONARIES

July 30 - August 3, 1956

The associational missionaries of North Carolina met at the Caswell Baptist Assembly in their Annual Summer Assembly on Monday evening, July 30, 1956. Shortly after 7:00 o'clock Bishop John W. Beam, president of the august body, called the elite group to order and presented the song leader for the group, Rev. Guthrie Colvard, who led in singing two numbers with Mrs. J. D. Barnette at the piano.

Rev. J. D. Barnette conducted the devotion, reading from John 10, and called on Mrs. R. J. Hall to lead us in prayer.

President Beam welcomed the new missionaries and all of us along with our visitors and then presented Dr. Earle Bradley, the associational missionaries' fatherly adviser, in his best bib and tuck, all dressed up as if he were going to address the United Nations. He in turn presented the new missionaries, Rev. Glen Ramsey of the Blue Ridge Association, Rev. Hassel Lamm of the Beulah Association, and Miss Doris Raxter of the Tennessee River Association, and all the missionaries from Dan to Beersheba and a few dignitaries among whom were Bishops J. C. Pipes and N. A. Melton (faculty members of the Preachers' School), and Mrs. M. A. Huggins, Bishop O. J. Hagler, and Prophet D. P. Brooks.

After these formalities President Beam presented Brother Brooks who spoke briefly about the State Sunday School Program facing us.

By this time Father R. K. Redwine, the excellent manager of Caswell, came in and was presented. He gave us a most cordial welcome.

Following a hymn a very fine panel, "Building Attendance at Associational Meetings," was led by Hubert Mumford, Miss Ruth Bagwell, and E. J. Jenkins. At this point Bishop Burgiss passed out cards to be signed indicating interest in a fishing trip during the week.

After another hymn Brother Beam presented Dr. O. T. Binkley, a teacher in our Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest, who brought the first of four messages on the general theme of "Christian Morality and Vital Issues." This first message was entitled "The Separation of Church and State."

Following this fine message, Mrs. Margaret McRackan dismissed the evening session with prayer.

Tuesday morning Bishop Henry W. Stough conducted the morning watch using the theme, "The Missionary's Studying," and at 8:30 o'clock Prophet Knox Samson conducted the devotional period.

Following the devotion, Bishop Grady Burgiss reported that one boat had been employed to carry the six who wanted to go on the "outside" fishing trip.

Next was the fine panel on "Leading the Churches to Give through the Cooperative Program and to Other Mission Objects" which was led by Prophets Elmer Green, R. T. Green, and Miss Dorothy Edwards.

After a hymn Miss Mary Ayscue was presented and talked to us on the general idea of how the Baptist Book Store can better help by having a good mailing list and how to order wisely and correctly.

Dr. M. A. Huggins was presented by President Beam, and he stressed getting every church to cooperate in our great mission program. After recess the highlights of last year's minutes were read, and a motion was carried that a voluntary offering be taken on Thursday evening for the Scholarship Fund at Fruitland. Brother Marse Grant, editor of "Charity and Children," was presented, and he brought a fine message on "Good Public Relations: A Must in Your Work." Following this message, Rev. Ollin J. Owens of Greenville, S. C., the husband of "Minnie Belle," dismissed our morning session with prayer.

Tuesday evening's session was presided over by our lovely and attractive vice-president, Miss Elizabeth Campbell, who, after a hymn was sung, presented Bishop David Roberts for the devotion.

After the devotion Miss Campbell presented our new but efficient State W.M.U. Secretary, Miss Miriam Robinson, who brought a fine message. Following a hymn led by Director Colvard, lucid Editor Marse Grant was presented and he brought a most helpful message on "Publicizing and Promoting Your Associational Work." After the congregation sang another hymn, Bishop Elmer Thomas rendered a lovely solo. Miss Campbell then presented Dr. Binkley for his second address, and he delivered a profound message on "Christian Ethics and Race Relations." At the close of his message, Dr. Binkley led in prayer and closed our evening service. Wednesday morning's watch was conducted by Brother H. R. Starling who spoke on "The Missionary's Prayer Life," and the devotional period at 8:30 o'clock was conducted by Mrs. Margaret C. McRackan.

A panel, "The Missions Committee: Its Organization and Duties," was conducted by Prophets Tom W. Bray, J. Hoyt Roberson, and J. H. McCrimmon. Miss Ruth Williams was presented and talked on "Helping Those who are Called into Special Christian Service."

Director Colvard led us in a hymn, and President Beam presented the peer of State promoters, Dr. Earle Bradley, who told us "The Missionary's Relation to the Pastor, Local Church, Association, and Denomination."

President Beam then presented Dr. Richard K. Young of our Baptist Hospital and our Southeastern Seminary faculty who brought the first of two messages on "Counseling." Following this message, Prophet Tom Green, who has given a little time to gathering information on public relations from over the Southern Baptist Convention and studying it, suggested that we need to improve in this matter and that he would like to talk with any of us who are interested.

Bishop G. M. Singletary then dismissed our morning session with prayer. The Wednesday evening session opened at 7:00 o'clock with President Beam presiding. After Brother Colvard had led in the singing of two hymns, Brother Beam presented Prophet Alvin A. Walker who conducted the devotion.

Dr. Richard K. Young was presented for his second message on "Counseling." However, before he began his message, he told us a little news about the Hospital. He informed us that a cobalt machine was being installed there and that a machine was coming from Germany that would magnify what a fluoroscope does 1,000 times. He also told us about the beautiful new chapel and then delivered his message.

After a hymn a resolutions committee was appointed consisting of Brethren J. D. Barnette as chairman, Arch Cree, and Earl Underwood.

Since Elder Lewis Ludlum had not shown up for his message on "The Value of Planning a Long Range Program," the President presented Prophet G. M. Singletary to speak on the subject. The Prophet informed us that he had been given about a fifteen minute notice, but being a man of ability, he brought a very helpful message.

At this time an expense offering for our Organization was taken which amounted to $29.24, and envelops were passed out to the missionaries for them to put their offering in for the Fruitland Scholarship Fund and hand to the secretary later.

After a hymn Prophet Henry Powell told us briefly about the plans in his area for getting signed the petitions calling for a State-Wide Alcoholic Beverage Referendum. Dr. Binkley was then presented, and he brought a very helpful message on "The Churches and the Alcoholic Problem." Following this message Brother Glen Ramsey closed our evening session with prayer.

Thursday morning's watch was conducted by Prophet Tom Walters who used for a theme "The Missionary's Reading," and the devotion at 8:30 o'clock was conducted by Miss Frances Orr, secretary to Missionary Clay Barnes, in the absence of Miss Laura Mae Hilliard.

Brother Grady Burgiss announced that there were 35 (36 counting Miss Orr) associational missionaries present. They were Stough, Colvard, Lamm, Mrs. Hall, Ramsey, Mrs. McRacken, Jenkins, Samson, R. T. Green, Miss Campbell, Barnes, Miss Orr, Beam, Singletary, Roberts, Powell, Elmer Green, Bray, Carroll, Wilkie, Starling, Walters, Miss Williams, Smith, Barnette, Miss Bagwell, Walker, Burgiss, Thomas, Cree, Duncan, Roberson, Miss Edwards, Miss Raxter, Underwood, and Mumford. President Beam presented Elder Cleve Wilkie and his panel leaders, Mrs. R. J. Hall, and Prophet V. E. Duncan, Brother Duncan having been conscripted in the absence of Julius Holloway. They discussed "Using the Associational Organizations for More Effective Work." In this discussion it was suggested that we make a formal request of Brother Jimmy Morgan for S. B. C. and State Calendar of Activities.

In the general discussion period it was learned that a number of associations are holding associational camps (assemblies) especially for those who don't or can not go to one of the State Assemblies or Ridgecrest.

After a congregational hymn Miss Doris Raxter rendered beautifully a solo, and Brother W. C. Reed, Superintendent of our North Carolina Baptist Orphanage, was presented. He explained the support of the Orphanage and the Foster Home Plan.

After recess Brother Tom Green made a motion that we appoint a Public Relations Committee whose duty it would be to publicize information on the associational missionaries' work. A substitute motion was carried that a committee be appointed to study Brother Green's motion and report on it at the November Conference in Winston- Salem. A motion was carried that the Chair appoint this committee. He later named the following on this committee: V. E. Duncan, chairman, Miss Elizabeth Campbell, and Hubert Mumford, and Tom Green as ex officio member.

A motion was carried that the Chair appoint a nominating committee to nominate officers for this Organization at the November meeting in Winston-Salem. He appointed Tom W. Bray, chairman, Miss Ruth Bagwell, and Elmer Thomas.

Next, Brother Barnette read the resolutions of the committee on resolutions which were heartily adopted, and the secretary has sent a copy to each of those concerned.

A motion was carried that we meet again at Caswell next summer at a date that will not conflict with the southwide date on Associational Missions at Ridgecrest.

A motion was carried that we request Brother Jimmy Morgan to send a Calendar of Activities as soon as possible and that this be a permanent policy.

A motion was carried that the secretary send an "obituary" to all the missionaries who have departed from our ranks.

A motion was carried that all the missionaries be requested to send their bulletins to each other.

The officers of our Organization who were appointed as a committee at the November 14 Conference last year to restudy the relationship that was severed from the Educational and Music Directors' Conference recommended that we seek to rejoin that organization, but a motion was carried that we table the recommendation.

A motion was carried that our officers work out the November program for either the after-noon or night and that we as individuals join whatever group we may desire at the other period.

Bishop O. J. Hagler was presented in Dr. Huggins' place on program since Dr. Huggins had spoken earlier, and the Bishop talked to us about the Minister's Retirement Plan, the Southern Baptist Protection Plan, and social security, explaining all three lucidly and eloquently. Following some questions and answers on these matters, Brother E. J. Jenkins dismissed our morning session with prayer.

On Thursday evening following the devotion by Bishop V. E. Duncan, Prophet Earle Bradley discussed the Associational Missionary's Monthly Report Blank, the Cooperative Program, etc.

Following a hymn by the congregation, the offering for the Scholarship Fund at Fruitland was taken, and a little has been sent to the secretary since, all amounting to $81.50. Brother Horace Easom, State Secretary of the Brotherhood, was presented and spoke to us on "The Brotherhood and R. A. Work," and presented two laymen from Hendersonville who talked to us about personal witnessing. He then presented Rev. W. T. Hendrix, pastor of the Flint Groves Church in the Gaston Association, who bore testimony to the worth of a Brotherhood to the pastor. Brother [Hendrix? or Easom?] closed his period by rendering a solo.

President Beam again expressed pleasure because of our visitors and also expressed great appreciation to Dr. Binkley for his most helpful and challenging messages and then presented him for his fourth and final message. He delivered a profound and moving discourse on "Christian Concern for Families in Trouble."

Prophet Burgiss suggested that personal letters be sent to increase the emphasis on the last paragraph of the resolutions. A standing vote of thanks was given Dr. Binkley, thus showing and expressing our very deep appreciation to him for his great contributions to our Assembly. Brother Beam then expressed his abounding appreciation to those who had been on program, to the associational missionaries, and to all who had helped to make such a wonderful week.

There being nothing further to come before us but the fishing or outing trip on Friday which we hope will be reported on at our Meeting in November, President Beam called on Prophet Clay Barnes to close our Assembly with prayer, and we stood adjourned.

John W. Beam, President

W. V. Carroll, Lowly Scribe

ASSOCIATIONAL MISSIONARIES CONFERENCE

OFFICERS - 1950's

1956 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 30-Aug. 3, 1956]

These officers were elected at the November 1955 Meeting to serve for the Summer Conference in 1956. Apparently, they were the first slate of officers for the Associational Missionaries Conference. Prior to November 1955 many Associational Missionaries belonged to the N. C. Conference for Educational Directors and Music Directors and were elected as officers in that Conference.

President - John W. Beam [Catawba River]

Vice President - Elizabeth Campbell [Caldwell]

Secretary - W. Van Carroll [Liberty]

Song Leader - Guthrie Colvard [Atlantic]

1957 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 8, 8-12]

President - Boyd Horton [Haywood]

V. President - Guthrie Colvard [Atlantic]

Secretary - Miss Ruth Williams [Pilot Mtn.]

Song Leader - Elmer Thomas [S. Yadkin]

1958 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 7-10, 1958]

President - E. J. Jenkins [Brushy Mtn.] (Actually serving: Henry Stough [W. Chowan]

Vice Presidents:

Area I - Henry Stough [W. Chowan] (Actually serving: J. H. Mauney [Wilmington])

Area II - Arch Cree [Stanly]

Area III - Henry Powell [Green River]

Secretary - Treasurer - Mrs. Winfree Luffman [Stone Mtn.]

Chorister - V. E. Duncan [Tar River]

Dir. of Public Relations - Tom Greene [Cabarrus]

Committee to recommend a constitution:

E. R. Echerd, Jr., Chm. [Mecklenburg]

J. Hoyt Roberson [Three Forks]

J. H. Mauney [Wilmington]

Note: At the meeting at Caswell (July 7-10, 1958), Henry Stough had succeeded Jenkins as President. J. H. Mauney had replaced Stough as Area I Vice President.

1959 -- Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 6-9, 1959]

President - U. A. McManus, Jr. [Eastern]

Vice Presidents:

Area I - Mrs. R. J. Hall [Bladen]

Area II - Paul Nix [Johnston]

Area III - David B. Roberts [French Broad]

Secretary - Treasurer - Miss Mertie Booker [Flat River]

Secretary of Public Relations - Lewis E. Ludlum [Pilot Mtn.]

Minister of Music - Ted W. Williams [Liberty]

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Eugene B. Hager | with 0 comments



A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 3: The Gulfshore Decade : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Eugene B. Hager

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 3: The Gulfshore Decade : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 3: The Gulfshore Decade

By Eugene B. Hager

As the 1960's dawned, the Pioneer Era of Associational Missions in North Carolina was drawing to a close. It had begun in the 1940's when the first associational workers were called and began their work with no "How to..." manuals and often no office or equipment. And they were their own secretaries - doing all the writing, typing, mailing, etc. themselves. Many began their work using a corner in a room in their apartments or houses for office space. Sometimes a church would lend an unused Sunday School room to be used as an office. Perhaps someone would donate an old, used typewriter.

By 1960 most workers had better office space - usually in a generous church. The Eastern Association had purchased a home for their Missionary that had a utility building in the backyard. It matched the house and so was attractive, but small. It had been converted into an office. A telephone, mimeograph, and small file had been added as well as shelves for books, pamphlets, and other supplies. However, I recall visiting one missionary who had walled in part of his back porch to use for the associational office. The biggest advance was in associational work. The 30,000 Movement (goal to establish 30,000 new Southern Baptist churches and missions by 1964), a part of the Third Jubilee Advance, was underway. Convention-wide Simultaneous Revivals were planned for those years. Most associations wanted to be a part of this denominational emphasis. At the same time, many churches responded to the Sunday School Emphases of the 1950's ("Million More in `54," etc.) by improving and enlarging their Sunday Schools. Small churches moved from "class Sunday Schools" [often four classes: one for adults, one for older children and youth, one for younger children, and one for toddlers] to graded Sunday Schools [classes for each age group: Toddlers, Beginners (ages 4-5)), Primaries (ages 6-8), Juniors (ages 9-12), Intermediates (ages 13-16), Young People (17-24), Young Adults, and Older Adults.]

Larger churches established separate departments for each of these age groups with closely graded classes in each. All this meant a dire need for additional teachers and workers. And they needed to be trained.

Pastors and churches turned to their associational missionary to help with all of this. And if the association didn't have a missionary, there was talk about calling one. Associational Teacher Training Clinics were held. The missionary began keeping supplies of leaflets and other materials on hand to give to pastors and churches on Grading Sunday Schools, the Third Jubilee Advance, Evangelism, and Participating in Simultaneous Revivals. Many of us kept the printed materials most in demand in boxes that could easily be loaded in the trunks and back seats of our cars. A few years later, I was sharing a ride with John Privott (Associational Missionary in the North Roanoke Association) to Wilmington to help in a Sunday School Enlargement Campaign in that association. During our reminiscing about how associational work was changing, he remarked: "You know, I think that some of the best associational work I've done was out of the trunk of my car!"

Many associations by that time had missions committees (or their equivalent). Associational missionaries were learning to work with these committees and the pastors conferences to plan associational events a year and even two and three years in advance to meet the needs expressed by churches and their pastors. I sent out informal questionnaires to pastors and church leaders asking questions such as: What do you feel are the greatest needs in your church over the next few years? What can the association and I do to help you with these? What clinics or conferences would your church be most likely to participate in, if offered by the association? (Included was a list of possible events we could plan using assistance from State Convention Workers). Associations were coming alive with activities especially designed to help pastors and church leaders. Associational missionaries in North Carolina were excited with the announcement of a nationwide conference for associational missionaries to be held at Gulfshore, Mississippi in February 1963. We looked forward to the opportunity to fellowship with and share ideas with fellow workers from across the Convention. It would provide for in-depth discussions in small group settings of the various aspects of associational work. We were assured that there would be ample opportunity for two-way communication between associational workers and convention agencies. There was hope that we could address the issue as to whether the primary work of the associational missionary is to promote denominational agency programs or to respond to the needs and requests of the local churches in our associations. It was generally acknowledged that we needed to do some of both. But which was to receive our top priority?

The Conference on Associational Missions held at the Gulfshore Baptist Assembly, Pass Christian, Mississippi, February 11-15, 1963 was the first nationwide conference for associational missionaries ever held. It was "sponsored by the Home Missions Board in cooperation with other SBC agencies." (Cover page, Gulfshore Report). The stated purpose (inside cover, Gulfshore Report) reads:

The purpose of this Associational Missions Conference was to give superintendents of associational missions an opportunity to discuss the district association: its functions and work, its place in the life of the denomination, its correlation with denominational units (associations, state conventions and Southern Baptist Convention agencies), to the end that the churches may be provided the largest possible assistance in giving their maximum Christian witness. It was attended by 650 associational missionaries - 48 of them from North Carolina. In addition, there were leaders from the Home Missions Board and other SBC agencies. There were general sessions, but the main work was done by sixteen study groups with about 30-40 in each group. Each group had a Convener, a Recorder, a Researcher, and a Resource Chairman. We had been given the list of groups beforehand in order to indicate our top three choices. As nearly as possible we were assigned to the group of our first or second choice. (I was in Group 10.) The Study Groups were: [Note: if a group leader was from N. C., I will list that person's name] The Association Comprehending Its Mission The Association Organizing for Effective Work The Association Obtaining Maximum Help from Denominational Agencies Resource Chm.: E. R. Echerd, Jr. (Mecklenburg Assoc.) The Association Serving As a Unit of Southern Baptist Life The Association Magnifying the Ministries of the Churches Researcher: Hubert S. Mumford (Yates Assoc.) The Association Formulating Its Calendar of Activities The Association Planning Its Budget The Association Relating to SBC Agencies in the Projection of Their Programs and Ministries Convener: H. E. Walden (Robeson Assoc.) The Association Evaluating Its Effectiveness The Association Using Its Lay Leadership The Association Utilizing the Ministry of Its Missionary The Association Structuring a Program in the Light of Discovered Needs The Association's Place in Starting New Missions and Churches The Association Strengthening Weak Churches Researcher: Elizabeth Campbell (Caldwell Assoc.) The Association Advancing the Faith The Association Communicating and Publicizing Its Program Resource Chairman: John A. Moore (South Roanoke Assoc.) The ideas and issues covered at the Gulfshore Conference are too extensive to be fully discussed here. The Group Reports reflect some areas of disagreement on many issues. I would like to touch on one issue already mentioned earlier in this history: the role of the Associational Missionary and the Association in the promotion of an ever-increasing multitude of denominational agency programs and projects. Here is the first paragraph in the Conclusion of Group Eight's Report (Gulfshore Report, p. 65):

Since the role of the superintendent of missions is the program worked out by the association, he and the churches have the privilege of selecting the programs and ministries to be used in the association and the churches without censure from other denominational leaders.

And in Group Fifteen's Report we read (Gulfshore Report, p. 135):

Gradually, however, a change has come about. The tight organiza- tion of the Southern Baptist Convention, and its cooperating state bodies ... has enabled denominational leaders to assume an ever- increasing control of goings-on in the associations. Thus, our associations have taken on the image of organizations which exist primarily to get the denomination's business done on the local level .... Dr. Allen W. Graves, Dean of the School of Religious Education at Southern Seminary, Louisville, gave an address on Thursday morning entitled: The Association - Today and Tomorrow.

The discussion of this issue had caught his attention. In his address, he said (Gulfshore Report, p. 163):

As I have talked with many of you I have discovered that you feel considerable frustration and tension over the persistent needs of the churches and the communities served by your association and the multiplied efforts of denominational agencies to get your attention and your time to promote their particular denominational program.

Those from denominational agencies, keenly aware of the crucial importance of the association and the associational missionary, have been eager to secure your assistance and cooperation in the fulfillment of the assignments given by the Convention. And from p. 169:

What has been confusing to some associational missionaries, and to many churches, has been the assumption that every church must take everything that is offered by every agency. We have seen this communication flow as an assembly-like conveyor belt with an endless flow which everyone was expected to receive, accept and utilize. Perhaps we have come to the time when we can see that a more accurate pattern is to think of this as a cafeteria line offering a wide variety of very fine programs in a very attractive fashion from which each church and each church member can choose that which meets particular needs.

The role of the association and its leaders is to help the churches and their members to develop a keen sense of discrimination, a selective appetite, so that they may choose wisely from among the vast resources the denomination makes available. We must help the people to see that they have a choice. It isn't all or nothing at all! Help the man in the pew to realize that he doesn't have to take everything on the menu or run the risk of being called disloyal to the denomination or its program. This "cafeteria line" concept resonated strongly with the associational missionaries. We began using it in our associations and among ourselves. Some denominational agencies were a little slower in accepting this concept.

The Gulfshore Report, though produced over a few days and thus lacking some of the refinement that would have come if more time had been available, became a sort of 0manual on associational work. It was frequently referred to during the discussions at our summer conferences and other meetings. The Gulfshore experience brought new enthusiasm to our work. In many ways it was a milestone in our work as associational missionaries. Later, there would be other national convocations of associational missionaries. And they were good meetings. But there was only one Gulfshore!

In our 1962 summer conference, meeting at Mars Hill, the associational missionaries were divided into three groups. After each major presentation by a speaker, the groups met separately, discussed the subject, and then prepared a summation to be presented later at a "Report Session." This gave more individuals a chance to have input, and share ideas and experiences. The major presentations at the 1962 conference were: "The Missionary's Image" by Harold D. Gregory, Associational Missionary in the Nashville, Tennessee Association. "Church Problems and Splits" by Dr. Garland Hendricks, Professor of Church-Community Development at Southeastern Seminary. "Dealing with Pastors with Problems" by Dr. Hendricks. "Dealing with Pulpit Committees" by Dr. Hendricks. The next year at the Gulfshore Conference, there were sixteen study groups, each with its own assigned topic to research, discuss, and to be reported on in written form to the larger group. This format proved to be popular with our North Carolina missionaries.

At our 1963 summer conference at Caswell, there were five study groups with assigned topics: The Superintendent of Missions' Responsibility in the matter of pastoral referral. The Association Evaluating Its Effectiveness. Strengthening Weak Churches. The Association Developing an Adequate Budget. Finding and Training Associational Officers. In 1964 at Fruitland the study groups were: How to Plan Your Work as a Missionary. How to Work with Churches When the Pastor Is Uncooperative. (Also: When the Church Is Uncooperative.) Communicating Convention Programs to the Churches. (Also: Communicating the Needs of Churches to Convention Staffs and Agencies.) At Fruitland in 1965, Wendell Belew (Home Mission Board) led several discussions on "The Rediscovery of the Association." Dr. Donald Bell (Southwestern Seminary) likewise led several discussions on "Working with People and Churches." Note that during these years the programs addressed current needs and issues in the associations. Also, they dealt with improving the effectiveness of associational missionaries. But changes were coming. The mid-1960's saw a distinct turn toward the future.

The decade of the 1960's was a time of change and upheaval. The "space race" was on, with President Kennedy committing the United States to landing a man on the moon before the decade ended. Then came the tragedy of Kennedy's assassination in November 1963. Science and industry were making great strides. People were on the move to a degree not seen since the great westward movement in the Nineteenth Century. Associational leaders began looking toward the future and asking questions. The program for the 1966 summer conference had three panels leading discussions on: "Whither Associational Missions in Eastern North Carolina?" "Whither Associational Missions in Western North Carolina?" "Whither Associational Missions in Piedmont North Carolina?" On Friday morning E. C. Watson presented a paper entitled "Whither Associational Missions in North Carolina?" It was a summary of the past and present with predictions for the future.

In 1960 a number of associational leaders from the Wilmington, Atlantic, Eastern, and New South River associations met several times to study the possible realignment of associations in the area. Camp Lejeune and the Jacksonville area were growing rapidly. The Jacksonville area was near the boundaries of the Wilmington and Atlantic Associations. It was felt that in order to help churches minister to the growing needs of the area, an associational center was needed in the Jacksonville-Onslow County area. A new association could be formed with a nucleus of churches from the Wilmington, Atlantic, and Eastern Associations. There would also be new churches formed in that area of rapid growth. As a result, the New River Association, centered in Jacksonville, was formed. There was also talk about the Eastern Association shifting westward to include all of the churches in Sampson County while retaining those in the western half of Duplin County. This part of the realignment never did materialize because many of the churches that would have been involved did not agree to change.

Beginning in the late 1950's and continuing through the 1960's and beyond, military ministries became a very important part of the work of several associations. Fort Bragg was the largest military installation in North Carolina. It was located near Fayetteville in the New South River Association. Many of the soldiers there were new recruits (and thus single), receiving their basic training, and soon to be shipped out to places all over the world. Nevertheless, there were many career soldiers, officers, and others who were married and had families. Some had married while stationed overseas and thus there were many wives from other lands, cultures, and religions. Charles Stevens, the Associational Missionary, remarked that for years we had sent missionaries overseas to reach these people and now they were right here on our doorstep. On the front of the associational newsletter, he had a drawing of a doorstep with the world sitting on it. And a caption read: "The world on our doorstep!" The association and the churches recognized the need to reach and minister to three quite distinct groups: young, single recruits; married men with families; and wives from other lands, cultures, and religions.

Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville in the New River Association, though smaller than Fort Bragg, was similar. It had the same three distinct groups. E. J. Hines, the Associational Missionary, was interested in the association providing a place where off-duty marines could come for food and fellowship in a home-like atmosphere. It was manned by volunteers from the churches who were ready to witness, counsel, and minister as needed. Mrs. Toni Romaine, herself foreign-born, worked on the associational staff for many years to aid in this ministry - especially with those from other lands and cultures. The situation was a little different at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base at Goldsboro in the Neuse Association. It housed a Fighter Wing assigned to protect part of the East Coast of the U. S. It also had a B-59 Bomber Wing ready at a moment's notice to fly to any part of the world carrying hydrogen bombs with more explosive power than all the bombs used in World War II combined. The personnel were for the most part highly trained career men. They were married and had families. They needed to be ministered to as families. And those families needed ministry when husbands and fathers were out of the country (often with little prior notice) for months at a time. About 60% of the congregation at Adamsville (where this author was a member) was made up of Seymour-Johnson personnel and their families.

The Marine Air Station at Havelock in the Atlantic Association was probably similar to that at Seymour-Johnson. (I had less contact with the work there because it was farther away.) Since military ministries primarily involved only four of our associations, I will not take more space for them. Be assured that this work was very important and quite wide ranging. A book could be (and perhaps should be) written on it. Resort Ministries was another work that involved some, but not all, associations. Ministries to college students were important to those associations with colleges in their midst. The 1960's saw a growing use of slides and filmstrips in the churches and associations. Filmstrips quickly became the preferred choice. Associations began to build libraries of filmstrips on such things as Sunday School, Training Union, Evangelism, Stewardship, Home Missions, Foreign Missions, State Missions, and many others. This necessitated the purchase of projectors and screens. Schools of Missions and the Forward Program of Church Finance became important items on the associational agenda. It was announced that Dr. E. L. Spivey would be retiring at the end of 1966. There were many expressions of appreciation at our 1966 summer conference. Many of us attended his retirement banquet in Raleigh on December 6. John L. White (Missionary in the Gaston Association) wrote a Ballad of Lowell Spivey (sung to the tune of the Ballad of Davy Crockett), which we sang to him at the banquet. He was presented with a Book of Letters from the missionaries. And we joined with the State Convention Staff and other friends in presenting him a gift. Dr. Spivey had been a good friend with a listening ear to us. We were pleased to learn that Dr. Howard Ford would be his successor as Director of the Division of Missions.

At one of our Fruitland meetings (probably 1964 though it could have been the one in 1966), Dr. Spivey announced that he had arranged a special treat for our fellowship that evening. A truck would be on the assembly grounds with a load of watermelons and we would have an old-fashioned "watermelon slicing." It was such a big hit that it was repeated in subsequent years. Dr. Ford continued the tradition even after our meetings were moved from Fruitland to Wingate.

In the early days when the rooms at Fruitland contained four (or was it six?) bunk beds, the group had retired for the night. One of the fellows (whose name I do not know) was still talking about some of the things from the day's activities. After a long while, Lewis Ludlum said: "Brother -----, I have a project I'd like for you to work on." "What is it Brother Ludlum?" "Why don't you research the scriptures and write a paper on 'Why the Lord made the night!'" Later Ludlum said: " I don't know whether I offended him or not, but at least he quieted down and we all got some sleep!"

On another occasion I was among a group rooming with Lewis at Fruitland. Early in the morning we got up, dressed, and stood in line to shave at the one lavatory and mirror. All that is -- except Lewis. Someone said: "Lewis you had better be getting up or you'll miss breakfast." Lewis replied: "You fellows go ahead, I'll be up directly." As we were going out the door, I turned and reminded Lewis again that he might miss breakfast. He sat up on the edge of his bed and said: "Well, I figure it this way. You fellows wasted time standing in line to shave. Now, I'll get dressed and shave in a private room and still make it for breakfast!" Sure enough, as we were eating we saw Lewis come in dressed and shaved and get in the breakfast line. And by then the line was much shorter than when we were in it.

As the 1960's drew to a close, associational work in North Carolina had come a long way. It was well beyond the pioneering stage. Some associations were building their own offices, which would include a conference room and storage rooms for media and other supplies. (South Yadkin built theirs in 1966.) Many now had secretaries (though some were part time). And a few of the larger ones were adding additional staff members. Quite a few were acquiring more and better office machines (typewriters, addressing machines, folding machines, etc.). There were more conferences, seminars, and training events on the state and south-wide levels to help us keep up-to-date in our work and to be aware of the resources available to us. More was now being written about associational work in denominational publications. In a real sense, the association was being "rediscovered." Lewis Ludlum would probably have said that the associational missionaries now had a stronger awareness of their identity.

ASSOCIATIONAL MISSIONARIES CONFERENCE

OFFICERS - 1960's

1960 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 4-7, 1960]

President - Hubert Mumford [Yates]

First V. President - Edwin A. Echerd [Mecklenburg]

Second V. President - Audley Frazier [Ashe-Alleghany]

Third V. President - Henry Walden, Jr. [Robeson]

Public Relations - Lewis E. Ludlum [Pilot Mountain]

Secretary-Treas. - Guthrie Colvard [Gaston]

Song Leader - Leland Royster [Mt. Zion]

1961 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 3-6, 1961]

President - Hubert Mumford [Yates]

First V. President - Leland Royster [Mt. Zion]

Second V. President - Julius Holloway [Little River]

Third V. President -

Public Relations - Grady Burgess [Yadkin]

Secretary-Treas. - Mrs. Margaret McRackan [Brunswick]

Song Leader - Ted Williams [Liberty]

1962 - Officers [Meeting held at Mars Hill, July2-6, 1962]

President - Ted W. Williams [Liberty]

First Vice President -

Second Vice President -

Third Vice President -

Public Relations -

Secretary-Tress. - Miss Helen Cater [Theron Rankin]

Song Leader -

1963 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, June 17-21, 1963]

President - E. V. Plemmons [Buncombe]

First Vice President - Henry Walden [Robeson]

Second Vice President - John Carter [Rowan]

Third Vice President - David Roberts [French Broad]

Public Relations - Eugene B. Hager [Eastern]

Secretary-Treas. - Audley Frazier [Ashe-Alleghany]

Pianist - John Wright [Brushy Mountain]

Music - Julius Holloway [Little River] 1964 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, June 8-12, 1964]

President - Robert L. Costner [Raleigh]

First Vice President - Clay Barnes [Carolina-Transylvania]

Second Vice President - Alvin Walker [South Fork]

Third Vice President - John Privott [North Roanoke]

Public Relations - Helen Cater [Theron Rankin]

Secretary-Treas. - Floyd Rhyne [Central]

Pianist - Leland Royster [Haywood]

Music Director - Luell Smith [Pilot Mountain]

1965 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 12-16, 1965]

President - E. C. Watson [New South River]

First Vice President - Henry E. Walden, Jr. [Robeson]

Second Vice President - Leland Royster [Haywood]

Third Vice President - Robert Harrell [Chowan]

Public Relations - Miss Elizabeth Campbell [Caldwell]

Secretary-Treas. - Frank Ingram [Anson]

Pianist - Alvin Walker [South Fork]

Chorister - Julius Holloway [Little River]

1966 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 18-22, 1966]

President - Henry E. Walden [Robeson]

First Vice President - Charles Stevens [New South River]

Second Vice President - Leonard Rollins [Liberty]

Third Vice President - Earl Pearson [Catawba River]

Secretary-Treas. - W. Ellis Pope [Three Forks]

Public Relations - Helen Cater [Theron Rankin]

Pianist - Alvin Walker [South Fork]

Chorister - Earl M. Pym [Anson]

1967 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, June 26-30, 1967]

President - Zeb Baker [Green River]

First Vice President - E. J. Hines [New River]

Second Vice President - R. T. Smith [Randolph]

Third Vice President - Alton Hooper [Tuckaseigee]

Secretary-Treas. - John Carter [Rowan]

Pianist - Leland Royster [Haywood]

Chorister - Elmer Thomas [South Yadkin] 1968 - Officers [Meeting held at Caswell, July 8-12, 1968]

President - Floyd H. Rhyne [Central]

First Vice President - William H. Spradlin, Jr. [Wilmington]

Second Vice President - Clifton J. Dunevant [Stanly]

Third Vice President - Fred B. Lunsford [West Liberty-Western N.C.]

Secretary-Treas. - Lewis E. Ludlum [Pilot Mountain]

Pianist - John R. Wright [Brush Mountain]

Chorister - Raymond Moore [Johnston]

Public Relations - Mrs. Ruth Prince [Bladen]

1969 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 7-11, 1969]

President - Hassell Lamm [Beulah]

First Vice President - H. A. Privette [Atlantic]

Second Vice President - Elmer Thomas [South Yadkin]

Third Vice President - W. Van Carroll [Sandy Run]

Secretary-Treas. - Helen Cater [Theron Rankin]

Pianist - Ruth Prince [Bladen]

Chorister - S. Lawrence Childs, Jr. [Pilot Mountain]

Public Relations - Eugene B. Hager [Neuse]

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Eugene B. Hager | with 0 comments



A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 4: Shaping the Seventies : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Eugene B. Hager

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 4: Shaping the Seventies : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

A History of the NC Associational Missionaries Conference - Chapter 4: Shaping the Seventies

By Eugene B. Hager

The Seventies began in the midst of a dazzling array of scientific and technological accomplishments. On July 20, 1969, the first men set foot on the moon (Neil Armstrong and Ed Aldrin). Others followed with the sixth and final landing coming in December 1972. Pioneer 10 flew by Jupiter in December 1973 on a voyage that would take it out of the Solar System and toward the star Aldebaran. Weather and communication satellites were put in orbit. Nuclear plants were being built to provide cheaper electricity. New technology was everywhere. People who could remember the "horse and buggy days" were awestruck. It seemed as though there was no limit to what science and technology could do. There were many who simply did not believe that men had been to the moon. This author had an attorney (who had also served as a judge) confide that he did not believe that men had actually walked on the moon.

Predictions about things to come added to the aura of amazement. At the Southern Baptist Planning and Promotion Conference, held in Nashville, December 8-13, 1968, the theme was: "Planning for the Seventies" or "Shaping the Seventies." Dr. Edward B. Lindaman from the North American Rockwell Corporation (one of the major Space Program Contractors) spoke on Monday. He predicted breakthroughs expected in the next ten years. One was supersonic flight, which came about with the advent of the Concorde supersonic jet in 1976. During these heady times, I heard a power company official predict that in the near future homeowners would no longer need wires from their houses to utility poles and distant power plants. Instead the power company would lease, install, and maintain a small atomic-powered unit in each home that would provide all the electricity needed. Obviously, preachers are not the only ones whose prophecies do not always come to pass!

Church, associational, and denominational leaders were asking: how do we minister to people who will be living and working in such a technological world? Dialogue on this theme was incorporated into the program for our 1970 Summer Conference. As denominational leaders responded to the times the phrase "Shaping the Seventies" came into widespread use. Imagine the associational missionary looking at his old, unreliable mimeograph machine and wondering how he could compete amidst such technology. The need for more and better equipment was obvious. But what about the financial support that would be needed?

As far back as 1963 the Associational Missionaries Conference had begun to ask Convention agencies to help in promoting financial support for Associational Missions. After all, associations had been promoting giving to State Missions, Home Missions, Foreign Missions, and other Convention agencies for years. The response was a little slow in coming, but by the 1970's support for Associational Missions was being included in Stewardship promotion. It was also being written about in various denominational publications such as the Biblical Recorder, The Baptist Program, and the Home Missions Magazine. The phrase "Cooperative Program and Associational Missions" came into use.

At the 1970 Conference, Bill Goble presented a study on "The Association and Its Financial Program." He distributed a "Summary of Associational Survey Questionnaire," which noted that the office was still in the missionary's home in 16 of the 51 associations that responded. On page 9 we read this comment from one of those responding:

Everything else in Baptist affairs have numerous publications with circulation running into millions to interpret it to members. No Baptist program promoted only by sorry mimeographed bulletins can long survive in a competitive world like ours. It is folly to assume that proximity to the churches makes for easy and simple interpretations. We've about reached our financial peak with our limited concept of associational missions.

In 1973, Dr. Ford and Dr. Crouch proposed a plan for the General Board to help with the promotional expenses of the associational office (letter to associational missionaries dated June 11, 1973). After study and discussion, it was agreed that aid to the associations would be designated "for the associational budget" rather than as aid on the missionary's salary. The Convention would then be helping with the total associational program rather than just the missionary's salary. There would be other money available for special needs.

On Wednesday Fred Lunsford described to the group how two adjoining associations (the West Liberty and the Western North Carolina) had merged to become the new Truett Association. This would bring about a stronger ministry to the people and churches in the area. It combined the leadership, programs, and finances of two associations into one. We recognized the difficulty in leading associations (or churches) to merge no matter how obvious the need. There had been discussions of other such mergers from time to time, but this was the only instance in our memory that it had been accomplished. At the 1971 Conference, "...the President appointed a Committee to serve on a year's trial basis, with the task of fostering good communications between the Missionaries and the State Staff Members...." This committee soon came to be known as the "CAM" Committee (Convention-Associational Missionaries). A Progress Report was given at the 1972 Conference by a sub-committee consisting of Hubert Mumford, Chairman, Floyd Rhyne, Charles Stevens, and President Dan Page, ex officio. Dr. Nathan Brooks and Dr. Howard Ford represented the State Convention. In it the Chairman stated: "Our main purpose is to explore, with our state convention brethren, ways of strengthening our relationships as denominational co-workers....it is not a gripe session. I will have no part of that. We have had committees like this at least twice before, we need to go further than we did previously." Beginning in November the Committee had met in Raleigh each month (except April).

It had selected ten areas for investigation and discussion. These ranged from meeting the problem of "Independent" Baptist growth to the scheduling of dates, programs, and emphases on all levels. They also included communication (types, frequency, correlation), and annual associational meetings (format, the place of convention speakers, and reports). On the subject of communication, Missionaries complained that they were inundated by huge numbers of letters, leaflets, brochures, etc. from Convention personnel and agencies. Could some of these be combined, condensed, or less frequent? The problem at associational annual meetings was that the associations needed more time for business and reports from their growing ministries, while more and more convention staff and agencies were requesting a chance to present their causes. In the past, it was often possible to grant such speakers 20 or 30 minutes each. Now, many associations had trimmed it to four or five minutes each (or even less). Some associations were moving to a three-year rotation among agencies such as the Children's Homes, the Hospital, and the Homes for the Aging. Each would get more time, but only once every three years. A similar format applied to the colleges and the various departments in the Raleigh office. The Progress Report also listed 48 "Seed Thoughts" from their deliberations during the past year.

The Committee was extended for another year. The next year (1973) it was made a permanent committee of six, with three rotating off each year. In 1976 a constitutional amendment was adopted affirming the CAM Committee as a committee of six, but with two rotating off each year. The Committee dealt with many different issues brought to its attention. In 1974 it began work on a Code of Ethics for associational missionaries and convention staff working together in a courteous, Christian manner.

In 1974 many of us attended the National Convocation on Associational Missions held at Ridgecrest, May 6-10. It covered every aspect of Associational Missions: history of associations, theology of associationalism, the missions ministry of associations, relating to the churches and the denomination, and much more. The "Ridgecrest Statement" was adopted on the last day. It was a good, well-organized conference. However, as the reader may surmise, it covered much of the same ground that had been under study since about 1960, including the Gulf Shore Conference. Its main contribution was to give these matters a more in-depth study and "fine tuning." I considered my time well spent, but it did not have the excitement and impact of the Gulf Shore experience. A strong case could be made that it was needed for those who had become associational missionaries since the Gulf Shore Conference. For them it may have come close to duplicating that earlier experience.

The mid 1970's saw many changes affecting associational work. In 1976 Dr. Cecil Ray became the new General Secretary for the State Convention upon the retirement of Dr. Perry Crouch. Feeling that the associational missionaries needed to be better informed about the work of the General Board, he arranged for them to attend the General Board Meetings in 1977 as guests of the Board. This author found that opportunity to be both educational and helpful.

Dr. Ray announced a "Key Leadership Meeting" to be held at Ridgecrest in 1978. A number of key leaders from each association were invited to attend. It was "designed as a kick-off of the Bold Missions plans of church growth and mission support adopted in the 1977 Convention." It proved to be a fruitful meeting - with good attendance and much enthusiasm. Although we all came together in a few general sessions, most of the time was spent in group meetings led by the State Convention staff. The associational Sunday School Directors were led by the State Convention Sunday School Department, the Associational WMU Directors by the State WMU Staff, etc. It gave our associational leaders a chance to ask questions and enter into discussion with the State Convention Staff and also with their own peers from across the state. Before the Conference adjourned, we had one meeting by associations. It provided an opportunity for the leaders from each association to share what they had learned and discuss plans and possible projects for their own association for the coming year. Our leaders returned home inspired and enthused. The Key Leadership Conference became an annual event. We realized that it was one of the best things the Convention had ever done for our volunteer associational leaders. Many associations planned Key Leadership Conferences of their own for the key leaders in the churches. They were led by our associational leaders who had been to the Conference at Ridgecrest and were now better informed and highly motivated. At our 1976 Summer Conference, Dr. Ray gave an address entitled: "For Good or Bad, Something Is Happening to the Association!" It is changing! One of the changes he noted was the shift from promotion to missions. As we have already noted, this change had been underway in North Carolina for some time. Dr. Ray also discussed his dreams and plans for working with associational missionaries. The theme for our program in 1976 was: "On Mission in Our Own Setting." The December meeting, formerly referred to as the Planning Meeting, was called "The Mission Team." The topics presented and then discussed in small study groups reflected the concept of a team approach: How the Baptist State Convention Can Help the Associations:

In Total Program Planning - - - - - - - - - Hoyle Allred, Burrel Lucas

In Leadership Training - - - - - - - - - - - George Shore, Luther Osment

In Associational Finances - - - - - - - - - Talmage Williams, Howard Ford

How the Associations Can Help the Baptist State Convention:

In Total Program Planning - - - - - - - - - James McQuere, Nathan Brooks

In Leadership Training - - - - - - - - - - - John Hicks, R. Tom Greene

The Program also included a presentation by Dr. Cecil Ray on Bold Missions. Bold Missions was the goal adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention at its 1976 Meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, to join with other evangelicals to reach the entire world with the gospel message by the year 2000. This would be done by whatever means available: witnessing, preaching, printed materials (tracts, scriptures, etc.), radio, and TV. All churches, associations, and conventions were urged to participate in as many ways as possible. Business travelers and tourists might be able to witness in countries where missionaries were not allowed. Some places could only be reached by radio broadcasts in their languages beamed in from the outside. There was much discussion and planning for participation in this effort in mission organizations, sermons, and denominational literature. Enthusiasm began to build through the late 1970's and well into the early 1980's before it was sidetracked by the "Convention Takeover" controversy that began in 1979 at the Convention Meeting in Houston.

At our Summer Conference for 1978 held at Wingate, a Retirement Reception was held for Dr. Howard Ford who had announced that he would be retiring at the end of the year. Dr. Ford was presented with an engraved watch and Mrs. Ford with a table. We held Dr. Ford in high esteem because of his words of encouragement and his sympathetic ear. In 1979 Sara Ann Hobbs became the new Director of the Division of Missions and George Shore became responsible for Associational Development. Both were already well known to us. Sara Ann had served as Director of the State WMU and George had served as an associational missionary before joining the Convention Staff. At our 1979 Summer Conference, Sara Ann brought a message in which she listed her two goals as State Missions Director: (1) To find the lost in North Carolina and find ways to witness to them; and (2) To find people in North Carolina in need of special ministry and find ways to minister to them. At this same Conference, Dr. Forrest Feezor led two sessions on "Prayer." Cleve Wilkie led three sessions on "The Gospel Preached." There was also a presentation on "Training for Directors of Missions" by J. C. Bradley from the Home Missions Board.

Printed copies of many (not all) of the presentations made at our meetings in the 1970's and 1980's were handed out. You may be able to find them in your associational files for those years. They will make interesting and worthwhile reading.

Here is an excerpt from a presentation this author made at our 1985 Conference. I include it here because it applies equally to the 1970's, 1980's and beyond:

THE ASSOCIATIONAL OFFICE: A RESOURCE CENTER

Scenario:

By way of a phone call you learn that on the way home from the office, you are to stop and purchase: a small bag of flour, a box of salt, and a loaf of bread.

Across town in a shopping center five miles away is a large super market. It has a whole section with numerous brands of flour of varying sizes and prices. Furthermore, it has a whole shelf with a wide selection of salt. And bread? Oh, what wonders to behold (and smell)! All across town - five miles away.

But there is a small convenience store (Quick-Pic or Park-N-Shop) a couple of blocks down the street. The same street you take on your way home. Where will you stop to pick up the flour, the salt, and the bread?

Second Scenario:

Pastor Busy Bee has just received a request from a newly elected Adult Department Sunday School Director for a leaflet that lists the duties of Sunday School Officers. Now, there is a huge Sunday School Super Market in Nashville, Tennessee that has everything concerning Sunday School from A to Z.

On the other hand, there is a small denominational convenience shop, Deep Creek Baptist Association, just down the road. It doesn't have everything from A to Z about Sunday School. But it does have a few of the most frequently requested leaflets on Sunday School work. Where will Pastor Busy Bee go for the leaflets he needs? Of course, if Pastor Bee learns that Deep Creek Association seldom even stocks the bare essentials, he will soon stop going there. He just may do without.

D.O.M. as Resource Person:

One of the hats a Director of Missions needs to wear is that of a resource person. I estimate that at least one-half of the phone calls and visits by pastors and church leaders which I receive are for the purpose of obtaining information and/or resource materials....Even many of the communications from denominational agencies are requests for information or "feedback" (usually accompanied by a statement to the effect that the Director of Missions is the only person in a position to give the "feedback" which they seek).

This function as resource person requires so much expertise, time, and energy that it must be listed as a major component of the D.O.M.'s role. And it is inescapable since he cannot refuse requests for information and resource materials. In addition, it is often the door-opener to opportunities to minister and/or lead as a shepherd or mission strategist, or as leader of the associational body. The paper then goes on to list suggested resources in the Shop. Many associations were referring to their offices as "Resource Centers." We had come a long way from doing associational work "out of the trunk of the car." By the 1980's most associations had enough help in the office to take over much of the responsibility for handling the "Resource Center" materials. This freed up the missionary to devote more time to other matters. And there were other things already on the horizon: such as Long Range Planning, Mission Action Budgeting, and how associations could make good use of those new-fangled machines called "computers." Associational work has always demanded a lot of "on the job training."

ASSOCIATIONAL MISSIONARIES CONFERNCE

OFFICERS - 1970's

1970 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 6-10, 1970]

President - Elizabeth Campbell [Caldwell]

First V. President - Bill Spradlin [Wilmington] [deceased Jan. 6, 1970]

Second V. President - Guthrie Colvard [Carolina]

Third V. President - Edward Laffman [Cullom]

Secretary-Treas. - Helen Cater [Theron Rankin]

Pianist - J. Henry Simpson [Eastern]

Song Leader - Elmer Thomas [South Yadkin]

Public Relations - Charles Stevens [New South River]

1971 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, June 28-July 2, 1971]

President - W. Frank Ingram [Mt. Zion]

First V. President - W. A. Duncan, Jr. [Piedmont]

Second V. President - Oren Bradley [Surry]

Third V. President - Tony Brewington [Burnt Swamp]

Secretary-Treas. - J. William Ross [New South River]

Chorister - Mrs. Ruth Prince [Bladen]

Pianist - Leland Royster [Haywood]

Public Relations - Lewis Ludlum [Pilot Mountain]

1972 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, June 26-30, 1972]

President - Daniel F. Page [Flat River]

First V. President - Michael T. Ray [Sandhills]

Second V. President - Fred B. Lunsford [Truett]

Third V. President - Eugene B. Hager [Neuse]

Secretary-Treas.-Otis Wheelhouse [Transylvania]

Music Director - Tony Brewington [Burnt Swamp]

Publicity - Ed Laffman [Cullom]

Historical - Lewis Ludlum [Pilot Mountain]

1973 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 23-27, 1973]

President - J. C. Shore [Yadkin] [Replacing Thurman Allred who had joined the SBC Staff in Nashville]

Second V. President - E. J. Hines [New River]

Third V. President - Walter Middleton [Tuckaseigee]

Secretary-Treas. - Leonard Rollins [Liberty]

Publicity - I. V. Couch [Brushy Mountain]

Historian - R. E. Moore [Johnston]

Music Director - Guthrie Colvard [Carolina]

1974 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 22-26, 1974]

President - E. J. Hines [New River]

First V. President - H. A. Privette [Atlantic]

Second V. President - Earl Pym [Anson]

Third V. President - Laura Mae Hilliard [Yancey]

Secretary-Treas. - Charles Burchette [Tar River]

Publicity - John Moore [South Roanoke]

Historian - Lewis Ludlum [Retired]

Music Director - Leland Royster [Haywood]

1975 - Officers [Meeting held at Fruitland, July 21-25, 1975]

President - Leland Royster [Haywood]

First V. President - A. R. Waisner [Brunswick]

Second V. President - William Goble [Catawba River]

Third V. President - Don Wilson [Three Forks]

Secretary-Treas. - I. V. Couch [Brushy Mountain]

Historian - Lewis Ludlum [Retired]

Public Relations - John A. Moore [South Roanoke]

Music Director - Lawrence Childs [Mecklenburg]

1976 - Officers [Meeting held at Wingate, July 19-23, 1976]

President - Talmage Williams [Green River]

First V. President - Paul Kesterson [Wilmington]

Second V. President - John A. Moore [South Roanoke]

Third V. President - Walter Middleton [Tuckaseigee]

Secretary-Treas. Robert Wainwright [Flat River]

Historian - Lewis Ludlum [Retired]

Public Relations - Oren Bradley [Surry]

Music Director - Charles Burchette [Tar River]

1977 - Officers [Meeting held at Caraway, July 18-22, 1977]

President - Ruth Prince [Bladen]

First V. President - Ellis Marks [Union]

Second V. President - Hugh Borders [Mitchell]

Third V. President - Ed. Laffman [Cullom]

Secretary-Treas. - Eugene Hager [Neuse]

Public Relations - J. D. Harrod [Central]

Music - Tony Brewington [Burnt Swamp]

Historian - Lewis Ludlum [Retired]

1978 - Officers [Meeting held at Wingate, June 26-30, 1978]

President - Charles Stevens [New South River]

First V. President - Oren Bradley [Surry]

Second V. President - Mabel Couch [Stone Mountain]

Third V. President - George Shore [Cabarrus]

Secretary-Treas. - Austin Lovin [Pee Dee]

Public Relations - Thurman Fox [Pilot Mountain]

Music - Roy Holder [Transylvania]

Historian - Lewis Ludlum [Retired]

1979 - Officers [Meeting held at Wingate, June 25-29, 1979]

President - Charles McMillan [Raleigh]

First V. President - Bill Ballou [Ashe]

Second V. President - Clifton Dunevant [Stanly]

Third V. President - A. R. Waisner [Brunswick]

Secretary-Treas. - Judson Rotan [Randolph]

Public Relations - Cline Borders [Kings Mountain]

Music - Ruth Prince [Bladen]

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Eugene B. Hager | with 0 comments



'God speaks through their gifts' : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by

'God speaks through their gifts' : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

'God speaks through their gifts'

N.C. Baptist Hospital Communications

Showing kindness to those in need, being of service to individuals less fortunate and understanding the nature of mercy. Those were lessons Susan Warner learned from her mother - lessons that have been guiding principles in the way she has lived her own life.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matt.5:7).

Now, like bread cast upon the water, Susan finds herself on the receiving end of that same kindness and generosity.

A life-long N.C. Baptist, Susan served as music director at Fellowship Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and most recently youth director and WMU director at First Baptist Church in King. There, she loved organizing mission activities and trips to places from Detroit to El Salvador.

But illness struck in 2003 and Susan was admitted to North Carolina Baptist Hospital. Her doctors diagnosed a rare autoimmune disease. The once energetic and dynamic woman found herself battling severe respiratory problems, making it difficult to walk across the room or do the simplest chore without losing her breath. She had to give up her job as an administrative assistant at a local church. Her daily routine became hospital stays, doctors' visits and taking more than 20 different medicines to treat the extremely rare condition.

The expert medical care and compassion she found at Baptist Hospital have been important lifelines of hope. But, the financial strain from her loss of income has been severe.

She fell between the cracks in paying for a recent hospital bill. Having a little too much money to qualify for government help, but not enough to provide for her medical care, she felt trapped with limited options.

"I know I'm not supposed to worry because it only makes this illness worse, but it's hard not to when medical expenses pile up along with all my regular bills. Keeping up has been nearly impossible."

She found it extremely hard to face illness and be worried sick by financial burdens and an uncertain future.

But now it was Susan's turn to experience the kindness and caring that she had so often showered on others. It came in the form of love from family, friends and N.C. Baptists.

Looking through her mail one day she noticed a letter from Baptist Hospital. "I had just been in the hospital, adding to an already overwhelming financial burden. So when the mail arrived, I assumed it was another bill." Instead, when Susan opened the letter she discovered these words of grace: "Your hospital bill has been paid by compassionate and mission-minded North Carolina Baptists in the name of Jesus Christ and His love."

"I cried when I read the letter. I couldn't believe that people I didn't know had reached out to help me," she said.

"They lifted a real burden and I found that God had answered my need through those who give to the Mother's Day Offering. People will never know how much this means to me. This has helped to relieve the worry and stress and it has reminded me that God is always there. I thank them with all my heart."

Closer to home, Susan found her sister, Linda, and her two daughters, Tracie and Julie, more than willing to step in and help with the housework, grocery shopping and going back and forth to the doctor. "My son, Robert, would be helping too, but he's in the Air Force and is going to Afghanistan."

Friends from her Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church of King have been wonderful, Susan said. "The Sunday School class is called 'Sisters in Christ,' and they bring meals, clean my house, come by to check on me and even send cards to lift my spirits."

One of those class members, Nancy Smith, is a pediatric oncology nurse at Baptist. "Nancy is an angel, helping me with my shots and even saving my life once when I had a breathing crisis."

Susan said it's been very hard being sick. "It is overwhelming at times, but I've learned many things through my illness. I've learned how fragile life is and to live each day the best I can to its fullest," she said.

"I've learned that without family and friends you just can't make it in this life, and that it's the little things we do for others that helps them get through the day. I've learned that God speaks through a simple card or phone call," Susan said.

All of these things, along with the financial assistance of those who give to the Mother's Day Offering, have served to keep Susan's faith strong and her hope steady.

"I believe God will heal me in His time and not mine," she said.

In the meantime, she still finds great joy in serving and giving. "I'm going to a mission fellowship soon at my church. We're going to make care packets for people in the military and for college students."

Feeling truly blessed, despite what she is enduring, Susan said, "I would say to those who give to the Mother's Day Offering that their giving is a wonderful way to show Christ's love to others. God speaks through their gifts, often to people who may not see Him in any other way."

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



2005 Heritage Awards honor dedicated N.C. Baptists : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by

2005 Heritage Awards honor dedicated N.C. Baptists : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

2005 Heritage Awards honor dedicated N.C. Baptists

From staff reports

GREENSBORO - N.C. Baptist institutions and agencies honored those who have contributed greatly to their causes at the 2005 N.C. Baptist Heritage Award program April 6. Fourteen N.C. Baptists were honored during the ceremony.

Michael C. Blackwell, president of Baptist Children's Homes (BCH), presented its Heritage Award to Vanise Hardee. Hardee has volunteered with and donated to BCH since 1987, serving especially at Cameron Boys Camp in Moore County. He has also served as the vice chair of the BCH Board of Trustees.

The Baptist State Convention (BSC) honored Norman A. Wiggins, chancellor of Campbell University. Jim Royston, executive director-treasurer of the BSC, presented the award to Wiggins. Wiggins retired in May 2003 after 36 years as Campbell's president. He led the school to become the second largest private university in North Carolina and the second largest Baptist university in the world. He is one of only two Baptist college presidents to serve as BSC president.

Biblical Recorder Editor Tony W. Cartledge presented the paper's Heritage Award to Newton R.N. Hardin. Hardin, a retired Air Force chaplain, has served several terms on the Recorder Board of Directors and is a long time proponent of the paper. He supports the Recorder through personal encouragement of the staff, financial contributions and promotion of the paper to individuals and churches.

Campbell University's Heritage Award went to Milford R. Quinn. Campbell President Jerry Wallace presented the award. Quinn graduated from Campbell in 1943 when it was Campbell College. He has served on the school's Board of Trustees for more than 20 years and has received its Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Chowan College President M. Christopher White presented the school's Heritage Award to Charles B. Pond III. Pond has received Chowan's Distinguished Alumni Award and is a founding member of the Chowan Christian Service Association. He is serving on the Executive and Business Affairs committees for the school's trustees and has also served on the Alumni Board and Board of Visitors.

Bettye A. Moore was the recipient of Gardner-Webb University's Heritage Award. School President Frank R. Campbell presented the award to her. Moore serves on Gardner-Webb's Board of Trustees. She began her service completing the term of her late husband, Dan, and now serves as an elected trustee. They have provided funding for two endowed scholarships.

Mars Hill College honored Jack and Carolyn Ferguson. School President Dan Lunsford presented the award to them. Carolyn Ferguson has served as a Mars Hill trustee since 2001. Jack Ferguson is a member of the school's Foundation Board, which provides direction for the expansion and investment of the college endowment.

Meredith College President Maureen Hartford presented the school's Heritage Award to Ione Kemp Knight. Knight graduated from Meredith in 1943 and became a professor at the school in 1956, teaching English literature. She continues to co-chair Meredith's Alumnae Legacy Scholarship, the school's first full academic scholarship program. She provided a lead gift for the program and helped establish a fund that will support faculty scholarship in the English Department.

Edwin and Goldie Coates received the N.C. Baptist Foundation's Heritage Award. Foundation Executive Director M. Clay Warf presented the award to them. Edwin Coates served as the foundation's executive director from 1973 until his retirement in 1997. During his tenure, its assets grew from $1.6 million to almost $70 million. He was named N.C. Fundraiser of the Year in 1992.

N.C. Baptist Men honored Jasper Evans. N.C. Baptist Men President Jim Burchette presented him with the group's Heritage Award. Evans' missions efforts have included cleaning mud out of houses in Illinois, building homes in Honduras, constructing churches in Germany, developing youth camps in Jamaica and Ukraine and building seminaries in Czech Republic, Poland and South Africa.

Frances D. Simpson was the recipient of Wingate University's Heritage Award. Wingate President Jerry E. McGee presented the award to her. Simpson has been a frequent presence at Wingate events for 40 years and has been instrumental in guiding students to attend the school. Her late husband, Bruce, and sons, Larry and Lanny, are alumni and have served as trustees.

N.C. Woman's Missionary Union gave its Heritage Award to Wanda Wynne Temple. Ruby Fulbright, the group's executive director-treasurer, presented the award. Temple has served on the N.C. WMU Executive Board and spends summers in mission work. She has also served as WMU director at Fellowship Baptist Church in Creedmoor, and served as GA director, Acteens director and WMU director with the associational WMU.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Wiltshire: 'No one is marginalized by God' : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Mike Creswell

Wiltshire: 'No one is marginalized by God' : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

Wiltshire: 'No one is marginalized by God'

By Mike Creswell
BSC Communications

"No one is marginalized by God," Donnie Wiltshire said.

Can deaf people "hear" the gospel? Can blind people "see" how to be saved? Can people who speak no English - or cannot read - understand the gospel?

Of course they can, but it takes extra effort by churches. That's where Wiltshire's ministry begins.

As team leader for multi-cultural ministry on the Baptist State Convention (BSC) staff, Wiltshire helps churches identify and reach out to people often missed by traditional church programs.

Wiltshire and several other staff members lead conferences, work directly with congregations and also publish materials that equip Baptists to minister to people who are deaf, blind, developmentally disabled or illiterate.

"We stress that we are making very intentional efforts to reach people who are often marginalized by society," Wiltshire said. "We recognize as Kingdom people that no one is marginalized by God. They are worth the resources, time and effort we invest so they will have an opportunity to know Christ."

In March Wiltshire finished plans for a major "Together In Christ" training event set for May 13-15 at Caraway Conference Center. More than 200 Deaf and hearing people will worship and train together. Some 60 sign language interpreters are expected to polish up their communication skills in some intensive language sessions.

But don't think planning meetings has gotten routine for Wiltshire. He remains passionate about his ministry, which he considers far more than just a job.

He learned sign language as a teenager and later served as pastor of Deaf congregations in Louisiana and Tennessee for 21 years. It is clear that working with the Deaf remains part of his calling.

Deaf

The capital "D" on "Deaf" is important. Wiltshire said that's just one of the many changes that have reshaped Deaf ministry in recent decades.

"The Deaf people do not think about themselves in terms of handicap," he said. "They see themselves as a people group with their own language and culture. That's why it's considered proper to capitalize the word "Deaf" when referring to them as a group," Wiltshire said.

He said there are more than 1,000 deaf people involved in the Deaf ministries of 113 N.C. Baptist churches. "I am really proud of North Carolina Baptists. We have put lots of time and resources into reaching Deaf people for Christ," he said.

Technology has created many changes in Deaf culture, Wiltshire said. Computers have made on-line communication easier than using fax machines; many deaf people now use Blackberry-type communicators. But Wiltshire said these and other changes have made locating Deaf people complicated.

Deaf children often are born to hearing parents, so they are scattered through society, rather than living in a certain area like more traditional culture groups. In earlier years Deaf children could be identified when they attended state residential schools for training and education or joined clubs for Deaf people. But Wiltshire said now Deaf children tend to be mainstreamed. The younger generation of Deaf people use instant messaging, Internet cameras and the like. Churches wanting to minister to Deaf people need to learn about their communications tools, he said.

Wiltshire himself has adapted to new technology for ministry. Baptists in South Carolina and Georgia are partnering with N.C. Baptists to sponsor Christian teaching for the Deaf. The program is backed by Gardner-Webb University's adult education program.

Courses also are offered to any Deaf person in America who has access to high-speed Internet. Bible courses are taught in American Sign Language and broadcast over the net. Students can use a related chat room for classroom discussions.

N.C. Baptists are leading in other ways as well. For example, an exposition in Greensboro this spring will highlight new equipment and devices to help Deaf people. N.C. Baptists will be one of few religious groups present with an exhibit, Wiltshire said.

Blind

Wiltshire also helps churches minister to people who are blind or visually impaired. An annual retreat for the blind at the end of April will offer both training and inspiration. His office sends out audio recordings of the Biblical Recorder newspaper, missions studies and other materials free of charge.

The office also serves as a resource center for churches that want to minister to the blind, such as locating materials in Braille or other resources.

Developmentally Disabled

A third ministry area for Wiltshire is the more than 218,000 North Carolinians who have mental handicaps. "One in four families in our state is touched in some way by people with developmental disabilities," Wiltshire said.

Other church groups are ministering to these people, Wiltshire said, but N.C. Baptists have ministered to this group for more than 30 years and are rapidly expanding their scope of ministry. "Baptists' fast pace of growth is this area is exciting," he said. Further, he said, "Baptists have some of the best qualified people in the country working in this area."

This year Wiltshire's office expects more than 700 special needs people and staff to attend four Happiness Retreats - three at Caraway and one at Truett Camp, the convention-operated conference facility at Hayesville.

These events will allow participants to swim, work with puppets and have a Vacation Bible School experience like other Baptists do. "We have well trained workers and a high rate of chaperones to assure we have safe and successful camps," Wiltshire said.

Baptist Children's Homes is making a big contribution to helping adults with developmental disabilities by offering several group homes across the state. Like Wiltshire's ministry, the homes are funded through Cooperative Program Missions Giving by N.C. Baptists.

Literacy

Simple statistics spell out the need for Baptists to work in literacy missions. "Twenty-two percent of North Carolinians cannot read and write well enough to fill out a job application," Wiltshire said. "These are not our figures; they come from the state government."

Some people cannot read because of poor education; others are immigrants who are still learning English.

Wiltshire said N.C. Baptist churches are helping both groups.

In the area of Cabarrus Association, near Charlotte, churches provided classes and tutors to help factory workers find new jobs after the Pillowtex Company closed a large factory in the area. Many people had worked for years in the factory, but had little education to secure other work.

The BSC has more than two dozen literacy missions associates who lead 16-hour workshops across the state. They train tutors using a North American Mission Board program, tutor at-risk children and youth, and teach people to read and write English.

"The goal for all the ministries is to win people to Christ while meeting their basic needs," Wiltshire said.

Many N.C. Baptist churches are teaching English to immigrants. And there's a need, Wiltshire points out: As of 2003, 5.3 percent of North Carolina's population was Hispanic and just less than 2 percent was Asian. Many of the newcomers speak little or no English.

Wiltshire said Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Roseboro is a good example of how a church can use English as a second language (ESL) ministry. Beaver Dam has led dozens of migrant farm workers to faith in Christ as members taught, he said. Glenda Reese, a member of Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, wrote a book on using the Gospel of Mark to teach English; it has become a standard work for Christians in ESL ministry.

"The end result is not just someone who knows English," Wiltshire said, "but someone who knows the Lord."

In recent months Wiltshire has been pulling together convention staff members from other departments whose work involves immigrants or helping ministries. He can envision a person planting a church among Vietnamese immigrants, teaming up with English teachers from a local association or church in order to share the gospel with more people quicker.

Also, he hopes to help churches set up partnerships among churches so that wealthy suburban churches could work with inner city churches and help reach communities which are closer than foreign fields, but still foreign and challenging in many ways.

Although Wiltshire's work centers on helping cross barriers with the gospel, the one barrier that is hardest to get over is the budgetary one: A low work budget limits his programs.

"If there was more money the convention could dedicate more staff people to equip more churches to reach more people with the gospel. That's what is needed in our state. But in the present budget situation, even additional part-time help is a dream," he said.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Mike Creswell | with 0 comments



WMU celebrates missions in the mountains : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Tony W. Cartledge

WMU celebrates missions in the mountains : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

WMU celebrates missions in the mountains

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

BLACK MOUNTAIN - The bright green leaves of spring found glad company as more than 1,230 women converged on Ridgecrest April 16-18 for the annual Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) Missions Extravaganza.

N.C. WMU executive director Ruby Fulbright told participants that North Carolina has the largest WMU organization - in terms of both membership and curriculum sales - in the country. Fulbright challenged the assembled women to "walk on water" as they follow Jesus, even when it is risky. As times change, WMU is facing a time of transition that "needs our immediate and undivided attention," she said. Referencing the Apostle Peter's shaky attempt to walk on water, Fulbright asked: "Is it possible that God is shaking up WMU? Are we ready to get out of the boat?"

Though the risk of failure is always present, Jesus is also present to lift up those who are sinking, she said. "And, every once in a while, as we follow in obedience, we will walk on water."

Worship leaders included singer/songwriter Cindy Johnson of Winston-Salem, and dramatist Laurita Miller of Birmingham, Ala. They joined several speakers in expounding the theme of being "Christ-followers."

Mary Kay Beard described what it was like to get caught up in crime and become a rare female bank robber. Beard began to follow Christ during her prison stay. After serving five and one half years of a 21-year sentence in Alabama, she was released. Shortly after, Beard went to work for Prison Fellowship Ministries and developed the popular Angel Tree program to provide Christmas gifts for the children of inmates. More than 560,000 gifts were distributed in 2004, she said.

Audrey Morikawa, former Canadian Baptist missionary and current president of the Baptist World Alliance Women's Department, spoke of how God had led and worked in her life as she sought to follow Christ. When humans make mistakes, God's freedom and grace can redeem and use the circumstances of life, she said.

Biblical Recorder editor Tony Cartledge said following Jesus comes from eyes and ears that are open to God's invitation to service, and a heart that is willing to say "yes." He encouraged participants to "be open to all the future and all the possibilities" found in following Christ on mission.

Participants stayed busy as a plethora of program leaders offered 88 different breakout sessions, many presented multiple times, on subjects ranging from missions in specific countries to spiritual growth, teaching tips, faith-sharing, and personal issues such as dealing with busyness, facing grief, or caring for older parents.

Members adopted a program budget of $369,215 for 2006 and $366,529 for 2007. Officers for the coming year are Sandra James of Whittier, president; Mary B. Hunt of Pembroke, first vice president; Delores Thomas of Peachland, second vice president, Beth McDonald of Rockingham, recording secretary; and Chris Harker of Winterville, assistant recording secretary.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments



Family Bible Study lesson for May 8: Believe God : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Phillip Hamm

Family Bible Study lesson for May 8: Believe God : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for May 8: Believe God

By Phillip Hamm
Focal Passages: Genesis 17:15-19; 18:10-15; 21:1-5

The Family Bible Study writer questions trust by speaking of "security systems, hidden cameras, broken marriage vows, broken campaign promises, and secret alliances to vote you off the island," then asks, "Does anyone trust anyone anymore?"

The better question is, "Does anyone trust God anymore?" We have a tendency to take our distrustful experiences with others and assume God is no different.

The Promise of God's Provision

Genesis 17:15-19

Abraham and Sarah had been promised by God that they would have a son. There was one hitch: Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 years old - not exactly what we would consider prime childbearing years. It is difficult to believe that God will provide something that is so apparently impossible. But we do serve a God of impossibilities.

Scott and Amy began their marriage with more than $26,000 in credit card debt. As they studied scripture they became convinced that they had to pay off the massive bill. After changing major lifestyle habits, which included using all of Amy's salary to pay off the debt, they became debt free. However, God had been challenging them to give much more money to their church. They decided to give a whopping 30 percent of their combined salaries. Such a commitment changed their plans to purchase a new home. But weeks after making this decision, God opened the opportunity for them to move to a newly built apartment that was twice as big and half their current rent.

In the meantime, Amy was given a raise. As Scott added up the numbers, he realized they were financially more stable after having committed to giving more to the church than before.

Philippians 4:19 says, "God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory." For many of us this verse is easier to quote than to believe. But just as Scott and Amy learned, God always provides.

The Promise of God's Power

Genesis 18:10-15

Sarah, as would any woman her age, had a difficult time believing that God was going to give her a son. Our response to circumstances like this reveals what we believe about God. All too often, like Sarah, we really don't believe that God is powerful enough to accomplish the impossible.

God has blessed the church I serve in a great way. We outgrew our facilities and after researching the issue, found that county codes would not allow a building the size we needed on our available land. We pressed the adjacent property owners to sell to us, but to no avail. "What do we do now?" I fretted.

I knew God had clearly commanded us in scripture to reach our community, but without more space we were limited. It appeared that God had sure gotten Himself in a mess. But, as I was to learn, God is too powerful to make messes. He makes perfect plans.

As I drove back to the church from lunch one afternoon I noticed a piece of property for sale a mile from our church. I called the realty number and asked the cost of the land. I literally laughed out loud on the phone when she quoted the outrageous price the owner was asking.

She wanted to know why I was asking and I explained our predicament. About 20 minutes later she called to tell me that a man had come into her office while we were speaking wanting to sell 20 acres of land. His only request was that the land be sold to a church. And it was one mile from our current facility on the same road.

We are under contract to purchase this land and relocate. We have learned that God is powerful enough to work out the details of our circumstances in order to accomplish His perfect will, even when our circumstances appear impossible.

Can we trust God? Will He provide all that we need? Can He overcome the roadblocks that cause doubts in our lives?

Time and time again the Bible proclaims that God is good to His word. We can trust Him to keep His promises and trust Him to provide. He may not do these things the way we expect, but He always does them according to His perfect plan.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Phillip Hamm | with 0 comments



Family Bible Study lesson for May 15: Avoid Sin's Consequences : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Phillip Hamm

Family Bible Study lesson for May 15: Avoid Sin's Consequences : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for May 15: Avoid Sin's Consequences

By Phillip Hamm
Focal Passages: Genesis 19:12-13, 15-17, 23-29

My dad tells the story of a childhood friend, Jimmy, who would say each summer that his parents were going to take him to Disneyland. This went on every summer for years until one day Jimmy came out to play proclaiming that he had just returned from Disneyland. He told of the wonderful sights, the great food, and the exciting rides. He gave detail after detail about the ride to and from California. He bragged relentlessly about his vacation.

There was only one problem: the neighborhood kids had spent the day before playing with Jimmy. There was absolutely no evidence that Jimmy had even gone to the next county, or to California.

Do people in our communities feel the same way? They hear us say that God has the power to change lives, but do they see any evidence in us to support that claim?

Sin Provokes God's Judgment

Genesis 19:12-14

Due to the unrepentant sin of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, God planned to destroy both cities. He sent messengers to warn Lot and his family in order to spare them from punishment. However, instead of running for protection, Lot's sons-in-law found the message humorous (v. 14) and Lot and his wife were nearly dragged out (v. 16).

Pundits have criticized and attempted to explain this passage by stating that, "If God is good He would have never destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." The opposite is true; because God is good He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Have you ever been in a store where there were unruly children? Kids hiding in the clothes racks, tripping customers as they come by, or running up and down the aisles playing tag. You naturally look to the parents to bring order to such chaos, but they do nothing.

Would you think that person is a good parent? No! A good parent would rein in their children and discipline them. Because God is good, He could not allow the sin in Sodom and Gomorrah to continue unpunished.

God is Gracious

Genesis 19:15-17

Mercy can be defined as not receiving the punishment you deserve. Grace can be defined as being rewarded when you should be punished. Lot received grace. He deserved to be punished along with the rest of Sodom and Gomorrah. But just as God chose to show grace by saving us from hell, He chose to save Lot from punishment.

Sin's Damage can be Devastating

Genesis 19:23-26

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah didn't wake up one morning looking for a way to make God mad. Sin, especially the sexual sin of these cities, doesn't crop up overnight. It creeps up on you with every small sinful indulgence that you take and makes you its slave as you willingly succumb to its power.

A man once wanted to sell his house in Haiti for $2,000. Another man wanted to buy it but couldn't afford the price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding over the door.

After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found a carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail (Leadership, Spring 1983).

Sin always starts out small with seemingly inconsequential decisions, but the damages may take a lifetime to repair.

The people with whom we work and live are looking to see if God is real. They are looking at our lives for evidence that God really has the power to make all things new. Unfortunately, the evidence that is sometimes found in the lives of church members reinforces what the world has always thought: God really doesn't make any difference.

The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were many. No matter what specific sin has crept into your lives, it has the potential to keep those who are watching us from seeing any evidence that we belong to God.

No matter how hard Jimmy tried to convince my dad, he never would believe that Jimmy had gone to Disneyland. There just wasn't any evidence.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Phillip Hamm | with 0 comments



Formations lesson for May 8: Living Out What We Say We Believe : Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22 2005 by Julia S. Ledford

Formations lesson for May 8: Living Out What We Say We Believe : Friday, April 22, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005

Formations lesson for May 8: Living Out What We Say We Believe

By Julia S. Ledford
Focal Passage: Galatians 2

I had an interesting phone call recently, from a 47-year old man who was seeking answers to a variety of troubling questions. Raised in both Methodist and Baptist churches, he never settled down into any one church. Along the way, he learned to argue the gospel rather than experience it.

It made me sad to realize how far off center believers can get even when they have had a church background. But, it is not a new problem. In the early days of the church, there were times when very sincere believers would find themselves on opposite sides of situations.

The Dilemma

Galatians 2:11-14

In the latter part of Galatians 2, we find that even the apostle Peter and others veered off center and exhibited hypocritical, alienating behavior. Due to social fear in the face of strong religious opinions held by significant believers, Peter and others acted differently when some leaders were present. How distressing it must have been for Paul to find that even his trusted and respected friend Barnabas swayed from the right position.

What a dilemma! Whom would you have supported?

James, the brother of Jesus, was holding rigidly to the Old Testament law of circumcision for Gentile converts, while a former Jewish persecutor of Christians was insisting that Gentile believers should not be required to submit to Jewish laws. It would have been hard to oppose James, the brother of Jesus. I imagine everyone assumed the brother of Jesus would surely know the right answers!

Back to Basics

Galatians 2:15-21

However, it would have been equally hard to ignore the powerful persuasion of Paul who contended that the gospel set everyone free for salvation by grace, rather than by the futile attempt to earn God's approval through religious laws. He called them back to the basics that Jesus had taught them. Jesus had confronted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the prevailing religious culture of His day. He sought to move them past rigid adherence to the letter of the law to discover the freeing intent of the Spirit of God.

Paul kept the main thing the main thing in the face of all controversies. He sought to help Jerusalem leaders recognize that his inclusion of Gentiles was based on the same gospel they preached, founded in the grace of God who gave His Son for our redemption.

Paul proclaimed with certainty that the gospel is all about grace - we are justified by faith alone, with nothing added.

We can be grateful for Paul's clear-headed understanding of the gospel. Through his writings, we are assured that faith in Christ is sufficient ground for justification and forgiveness. But, we are also challenged to make sure that our faith in Christ informs our behavior. Paul believed that the love of Christ should constrain us to keep the right focus no matter who may lose theirs.

Live it Out

So, how do we appropriate the gospel in our choices and life actions? Living out what we believe can be confusing, lonely and a scary experience. We, like Peter, can lose sight of the meaning of the gospel when faced with competing ideas held by respected persons.

But, when we give in to social pressures, we never discover the joy of sustained commitment to Christ. When we do remain firm on the right issues, we find fear replaced with peace, hypocrisy replaced with love and confusion replaced with truth. Paul's advice to us would be to take the gospel to its farthest extent by expressing the complete inclusive love of God in daily choices.

4/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by Julia S. Ledford | with 0 comments



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