Calif. Baptists involve CBU students

Baptist Press
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 4:15 PM
FRESNO, Calif. (BP)--Harmony and heritage were emphasized at the annual meeting of the California Southern Baptist Convention, Nov. 10-11 Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside.

Under the theme "For the Generations to Come: Celebrating Four Centuries of Baptist History," messengers approved, without discussion, a 2010 budget of $11,607,958, a 4.8 percent decrease from the current budget.

From $7,520,000 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from California churches, the convention will continue to forward 30 percent for national and international missions and ministries.

Messengers also approved a bylaws change to create a committee on resolutions, credentials and membership. The credentialing task was moved from another committee and the membership aspect was added to the new committee's job description.

The membership issue arose because of an increasing need for attention to processing applications from existing congregations wishing to affiliate with the CSBC, according to Blake Withers, pastor of Las Brisas Bible Fellowship in Murrieta and chairman of the convention's executive board.

Withers said it has been a longstanding practice for the local association to serve as the body to determine if a congregation wishing to affiliate with Southern Baptists is of "like kind and faith" in its beliefs.

He added, "This is still the preferred method for determining if a church meets this qualification for affiliating with CSBC. There are a growing number of congregations seeking to affiliate with the state convention and not the association. These situations would be handled by this new committee."

Messengers approved resolutions of support for the Southern Baptist Convention's Great Commission resurgence and affirmation of the biblical teachings regarding dignity and the value of all human life.

Walter Price, pastor of Fellowship in the Pass Church in Beaumont, was re-elected president of the convention by acclamation, as were Withers as first vice president and Justin McWhorter, minister of music and education at Orangeburg Avenue Baptist Church in Modesto, as music director.

Stephen Jones, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Yucca Valley, was elected second vice president in a ballot vote with Joe Slunaker of Hemet Valley Baptist Church in Hemet.

Students from California Baptist University in Riverside presented an excerpt of the play "A Garden in India" during the meeting. The play, performed in full Wednesday afternoon following the meeting, was commissioned by CBU in honor of this year's 400th anniversary of various Baptist traditions that date back to John Smyth and Thomas Helwys fleeing religious persecution in England to establish a church in Amsterdam embracing believer's baptism. The drama about the life of the first Baptist international missionary, William Carey, presented excerpts of his ministry in India.

Theme interpretations were presented by CBU professors Jeff Mooney, Anthony Chute and Jeff Lewis. Students from the university opened and closed each of the three convention sessions with prayer. Three students who have participated in CBU's international service projects presented personal testimonies.

Sermons during the annual meeting included Chris Morgan, a CBU professor; Fermin A. Whittaker, CSBC executive director; and Price.

A total of 463 messengers registered for the convention meeting, with 239 guests. With the proximity of the campus and the possibility in several instances of extra credit for classes, many CBU students also attended.

As each CSBC entity, as well as Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, presented reports, Price asked their executives and trustees to stand while messengers gathered around to pray for them.

The California Baptist Historical Society presented its annual Heritage Award to Edd L. Brown, former California church staff member, pastor, director of missions and California Southern Baptist Convention men's leader, and his wife Flo.

Next year's annual meeting will be Oct. 26-27 at Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis.

Holly Smith is managing editor of the California Baptist (www.csbc.com/csb), newsjournal of the California Southern Baptist Convention. Editor Terry Barone contributed to this report.

Copyright (c) 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net