Missions emphases highlight General Board meeting
May 24 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Missions emphases highlight General Board meeting | Friday, May 24, 2002

Friday, May 24, 2002

Missions emphases highlight General Board meeting

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

North Carolina Baptists will venture north to Alaska for two more years, and will raise state missions funds while observing a day of prayer on September 11 following actions taken by the Baptist State Convention (BSC) General Board, which met May 21-22 at Caraway Conference Center.

Partnership Missions Richard Brunson, who serves BSC partnership coordinator and Baptist Men's director, brought updates on the BSC's four ongoing partnerships, and described a variety of disaster relief efforts.

Brunson said N.C. Baptists served 34,800 meals in New York City and Washington D.C. in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

More recently, BSC volunteers operated shower and laundry units in Harland, Ky. and Mason, Ky. after the area was struck by flooding.

In West Virginia, also struck by floods, a feeding unit has operated since May 4, Brunson said, providing more than 39,000 meals. "Mud out" groups have also worked in Welch, W. Va., and a water purification unit has been set up in the town of Kimball.

Teams were also sent to Maryland following tornadoes in early May.

Brunson announced the need for three N.C. teams to join a food distribution project to aid Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Volunteers will purchase food in bulk, repackage it into smaller quantities, and hand-deliver to homes in cooperation with Baptist and other evangelical churches in the area.

The Alaska partnership, now in its third year, has been a great success, Brunson said. Volunteers numbered about 600 the first year, 1,200 in 2001, and may reach 1,300 this year, the last one scheduled for the partnership.

Brunson read a request from David Baldwin, executive director of the Alaska Baptist Convention, asking that the partnership be extended through 2004. The General Board approved the extension without opposition.

Although disaster relief and recovery work in Honduras has been going on since Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998, the BSC entered a more formal partnership in 2001. Most requests have been filled for 2002, Brunson said, with about 600 volunteers expected to participate. Project requests for 2003 will be released later.

Fewer volunteers are participating in the partnership with Baptist groups in Southeast Asia, which began this year. About 100 volunteers have enlisted for 2002, Brunson said, but many other opportunities remain.

The BSC's newest partnership, with the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association, is just getting underway. Project requests are now being distributed, Brunson said.

Budget Issues Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston told General Board members that the BSC's income from Cooperative Missions Giving is slightly ahead of last year's pace, but still 2.46 percent below budget, through May 10. If the trend continues, Royston said, the BSC could face a $900,000 shortfall in its $37,125,000 million budget for 2002.

With budget planning now underway for 2003, Royston said "The budget for next year will probably be flat line ... it will be the most austere budget we've had in the past few years."

Royston said funds will be shifted to ensure that priority needs are met, including support of the "Pursuing Vital Ministries" emphasis and increased leadership development for Hispanic ministries.

About 90 new BSC churches were started in 2001, Royston said, about half of them based on a language other than English.

At-Large Election Board members elected Betty Joyner, of First Baptist Church in Ahoskie, to an at-large seat on the 21-member Executive Committee, which acts for the Convention between sessions.

The seat was vacated when Caroline Jones, who was elected to the post in January, was tapped as president of N.C. Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) during the WMU annual meeting April 19-21. The state WMU president sits on the Executive Committee by virtue of that position.

Mike Whitson, pastor of Indian Trail Baptist Church, was also nominated for the at-large seat.

N.C. Missions Offering Dan Euliss, who is responsible for promoting the annual North Carolina Missions Offering, announced that the week of prayer for North Carolina missions will be Sept. 8-15. Since Sept. 11 falls on Wednesday of that week, churches will be encouraged to host community-wide prayer services to commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The theme for the 2002 emphasis is "Light in a Ground Zero World."

"Many people are anxious, fearful, and hurting as a result of the attacks," Euliss said. "We want to invite people to recognize the darkness in their own 'ground zero world' and to find the light of Jesus Christ."

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5/24/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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