Word & Way ousted from Missouri Baptist building
February 7 2003 by Vicki Brown , Associated Baptist Press

Word & Way ousted from Missouri Baptist building | Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Word & Way ousted from Missouri Baptist building

By Vicki Brown Associated Baptist Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Word & Way, the Baptist newspaper involved in a legal battle with the Missouri Baptist Convention, has been told to vacate the convention-owned space it occupies by March 1.

In addition, materials belonging to the news journal and stored in another area of the convention building in Jefferson City have been locked away from the 100-plus-year-old paper's staff.

In the past two years, the boards of Word & Way, the Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University, Missouri Baptist Foundation and Windermere Baptist Conference Center have changed their charters to allow those entities - rather than the Missouri Baptist Convention - to elect trustees. In August, the convention filed legal action against the institutions.

The convention has since started its own newspaper, the Pathway, also housed in the Baptist Building.

In a letter to Bill Webb, editor of Word & Way, David Clippard, convention executive director, called the newspaper's ouster from the space "appropriate" since "Word & Way no longer considers itself a division of or an agency of the Missouri Baptist Convention or the executive board."

But Webb disagreed. "I and the Word & Way trustees do consider Word & Way as still an agency of the Missouri Baptist Convention," he said in Jan. 31 interview. "The action to elect our board was made. However, our trustees said they were committed and that Word & Way is committed to continuing the ministry they were engaged in. That purpose has not changed."

Although notice to vacate the building was not totally unexpected, Webb said a move within 30 days would be a challenge. "Obviously we have known for some time of the possibility," he said. "We were somewhat aware of the market, but we were not in a position to request someone to hold space indefinitely."

He noted that Word & Way trustees "had decided not to take the initiative to leave the Baptist Building," choosing instead to wait for the convention to act. The newspaper has used the Baptist Building space free. Webb said Word & Way's use has been based on "a gentlemen's agreement" and that trustees have not discussed the possibility of pursuing legal means to remain in the space.

"We recognize the lease to stay has been based on mutual agreement and good will," Webb said. "We regret it is not possible to continue to be here. We have a commitment to Missouri Baptist life. This is a good location to provide coverage of news and features. People in this building, more than anyone else, have helped us be aware of events and stories of benefit to Missouri Baptists."

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2/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Vicki Brown , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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