New England Baptists highlight missions

Baptist Press
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Posted: Dec 02, 2009 5:30 PM
PORTLAND, Maine (BP)--The Baptist Convention of New England, at its 27th annual meeting at the Clarion Hotel in Portland, Maine, focused on the theme "Who Lives in Your Judea?" based on Acts 1:8.

A total of 141 messengers from 79 churches as well as 42 guests heard reports from each of New England's seven Baptist associations in six states during the meeting, which was hosted by the Maine Baptist Association Nov. 12-14.

Maine reported on the impact a recent MissionsFest had on several communities and noted that the association planted its first two ethnic churches this year.

Each association reported new church plants, strong fellowship and excitement for the future. A total of 20 new church plants were reported, 12 of which were ethnic congregations, along with three new affiliated churches.

Messengers heard reports from key ministry areas of the convention, including church planting, evangelism and transformational leadership.

A banquet on Friday evening highlighted missions, specifically the convention's theme. Among those who shared reports were Dave Howard of the North American Mission Board, who focused on NAMB's involvement in Acts 1:8 implementation; Kathryn Nunnelly of Pleasant Street Church in Worcester, Mass., who reported on the church's ministry to Iranian refugees; Rich Clegg of Grace Haven Church in Manchester, N.H., reporting on his church's ministry with Nepalese immigrants; Deanna Taylor and Jason Holladay of Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, N.H., who told about their church's involvement in the Ukraine; and Michael and Jan Bennett, International Mission Board workers, reporting on their efforts in Venezuela.

Robert Krumrey, pastor of MERCYhouse in Amherst, Mass., preached the annual sermon on biblical faith from Joshua 3-4. Jim Wideman, executive director of the New England convention, shared a modern-day parable, weaving through the journey of a fictional New England congregation embracing a missional lifestyle, based on a statement attributed to Charles Spurgeon: "Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter."

Adam Houston, serving his second term as president, delivered an address on a Christian's influence in the culture, based on Lot's life experiences in Genesis 13-19. Houston is pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Epping, N.H.

Phil Wilkes, pastor of New Colony Baptist Church in Billerica, Mass., was elected president, and Bob Wellner, a retired pastor from Friendship Baptist Church in Brimfield, Mass., was re-elected vice president. Sandy Coelho, a member of Victory Baptist Church in Rockland, Mass., and Sandy Wideman, a member of Rice Memorial Baptist Church in Northborough, Mass., were re-elected as clerk and historian, respectively.

A budget of $2,968,767 was approved unanimously for 2010, representing virtually no change over the previous year's budget. The budget anticipates $723,980 in Cooperative Program giving by the convention's churches, 21.5 percent of which will continue to be forwarded for national and international missions and ministries.

A change was made in the convention's annual meeting guidelines. With the approved change, the annual meeting no longer will be required to be held in a different region of New England each year but can be held in a central location in Massachusetts every year. In the past, having the meeting at a central location in New England has drawn a greater attendance. The change also will allow the BCNE to better negotiate long-term contracts with host locations.

Messengers approved two resolutions: One urged churches to pray that God would allow the convention to sponsor new works through church planting; another expressed appreciation to the members of South Coast Community Church in Scarborough, Maine, and the churches of the Maine Baptist Association.

Milton Hollifield, executive director of the Baptist Convention of North Carolina, delivered the convention's closing message, offering a challenge from Acts 1:8, and Randy Sprinkle, director of transformational leadership at the BCNE, led in a prayer response.

Next year's annual meeting will be Nov. 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

Allyson Clark writes for the Baptist Convention of New England.

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