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OPINION

Ohio Baptists welcome new churches

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LIMA, Ohio (BP) -- Messengers to the 58th annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio celebrated the theme "Mission Ohio: Reaching the Unreached," based on Acts 1:8, as they gathered at Lima Baptist Temple in Lima.
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Ohio's population exceeds 11 million, yet 6 to 7 million of those are estimated to be without Christ. The goal of Mission Ohio is to reach 1 million people in 2,020 congregations by the end of 2020.

The convention celebrated the addition of 22 congregations during the past year. Seven are primarily ethnic and three are primarily black. Ohio Baptists have added 231 new congregations since 1996, representing 33 percent of the 699 congregations affiliated with the state convention.

Also at the annual meeting, Ohio Baptists celebrated 4,172 baptisms from the past year.

Messengers to the Nov. 2-3 meeting approved a 2012 budget of $4,381,134, which is roughly the same as the current year. The budget anticipates $2,617,795 in Cooperative Program giving from Ohio churches and maintains a provision to forward 40.25 percent of CP receipts to national and international missions and ministries.

In each of the four sessions of the annual meeting, a different region of Acts 1:8 was emphasized: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. Jack Kwok, the convention's executive director, spoke during the Jerusalem session reflecting outreach in the local community.

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David Gray, pastor of First Baptist Church in Garrettsville, preached during the Judea session, which focused on Ohio. Gray substituted for convention president Ron Hopkins, who missed the annual meeting because of cancer treatment.

Mark Wilson, pastor of North Fairfield Baptist Church in Hamilton, preached the annual sermon during the Samaria emphasis, which highlighted the work of Southern Baptists in North America. Stephen Davis, vice president for the North American Mission Board's Midwest Region, preached during the ends of the earth session.

Mike Wilson, pastor of Lincoln Heights Baptist Church in Mansfield, was elected president of the convention, along with Mark Stinson, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Cambridge, first vice president, and James Edwards, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Bedford Heights, second vice president. Faye Rodgers was re-elected recording secretary as were Annette Dessecker as assistant recording secretary and Jack Kwok as historian.

Messengers passed nine resolutions, including two addressing recent changes at the North American Mission Board.

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Each year, Ohio Baptists designate a local Baptist association as an IMPACT association, which stands for Intensive Mission Projects to Affect Community Transformation. This year's was the West Central Baptist Association, and messengers celebrated professions of faith recorded from evangelistic activities in the association during the past year.

The IMPACT association for 2012 is the Northcoast Baptist Association. Next year's annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio will be Nov. 7-8 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio, which is in Ohio's Northcoast Baptist Association.

Based on a report by the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio staff.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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