Tuckaseigee Association bars WMU use of building
November 22 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Tuckaseigee Association bars WMU use of building | Friday, Nov 22, 2002

Friday, Nov 22, 2002

Tuckaseigee Association bars WMU use of building

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

The Tuckaseigee Baptist Association has barred the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) from using the association's building as long as WMU leaders are from churches no longer affiliated with the association.

The association's Executive Committee adopted a policy for using the building at its Oct. 7 meeting. The policy says only the association and its related organizations can use the building.

Associational leaders are interpreting the policy as excluding WMU because its co-directors are from churches that have pulled out of the association. Nelda Reid is a member of East Sylva Baptist Church, and Sarah Davis is a member of First Baptist Church in Sylva.

Claude Conard, interim director of missions for the association, said the association's parliamentarians determined that association officers must be members of churches in the association. The WMU director is listed as an officer in the association's bylaws, he said.

"We didn't push them out," Conard said. "They went out from us."

Reid said the WMU directors have no voting power in the association.

"Our officers are not elected by the association," she said. "WMU elects its own officers."

Conard said that if the WMU nominating committee would select a director from a church in the association, they would be allowed to use the building.

The WMU voted in September to allow membership from churches that have cut ties with the association.

Reid said she and Davis offered to resign at a meeting of the WMU leadership team on Nov. 17.

"Our leadership team said that they would rather we not resign, that we should not have to change our leadership in order to use the building," Reid said.

The leadership team has more members from churches that have remained than members from churches that have pulled out of the association, Reid said.

One member of the leadership team has indicated that she plans to resign over the dispute, Reid said.

Reid and Davis were elected to one-year teams in July. The directors of the organization are usually re-elected to a second term.

Reid said WMU leaders hope the association changes it mind but is prepared to start meeting in area churches.

"The WMU is trying to work with all our churches to promote missions as we have always done and challenge our churches to support missions and give to missions," she said.

Reid said the WMU has also been told that WMU news would no longer be printed in the association's newsletter. WMU officials are making plans to mail their information out, she said.

Reid said she has gotten no other negative feedback.

"What we are trying to do is work with everybody," she said. "We just feel like missions is very important and not something we should try to divide."

Six churches have left the association this year. The controversy started when the Pastors' Conference became upset that Cullowhee Baptist Church had called a woman as co-pastor.

Some churches have left saying the association is threatening the autonomy of local churches. Others were tired of the fighting.

Matt Ledbetter, pastor of Hamburg Baptist Church and president of the association's Pastors' Conference, told the Sylva Herald that an association's WMU should be made up of "cooperating churches."

"The WMU call themselves an auxiliary, but there are still association guidelines they have to follow," he said.

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11/22/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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