The CBF news release stated: "This difficult step was taken after previous financial contingency plans in fiscal years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 reduced grants to partners, program funding and staff salaries and benefits. The Fellowship's fiscal year 2010-2011 budget is $14.5 million, roughly 20 percent lower than the previous year's budget. So far, revenue has been nearly 20 percent below the budget for the first four months of the fiscal year."
Two of the eliminated CBF positions will move to contracts and one has been re-classified, according to the Jan. 28 announcement by the organization founded in 1991 in reaction to the Conservative Resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Daniel Vestal, CBF's executive coordinator, was quoted in the news release as stating, "These have been among the most difficult decisions I've had to make during my tenure at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship." Among the factors Vestal cited as prompting the cutbacks: "the downturn in the economy and the ongoing financial challenges of the churches and individuals that make up this Fellowship."
Nearly all of the staff members whose positions are affected are housed in the CBF's Atlanta Resource Center on the campus of Mercer University. After the staffing reductions, CBF full-time staff numbers 42, including three field coordinator positions in Virginia, Tennessee and Texas (in which funding for the positions is shared with the state CBF organizations) and a shared position with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Foundation. Field personnel were not part of the staff cuts, although their operating budgets have been reduced for the third consecutive year, according to the CBF news release.
Vestal stated that the CBF "will reorganize in ways to ensure that we continue to effectively implement our mission statement and continue to be a reliable and effective ministry partner to churches and individuals." Despite the cutbacks, Vestal added, "I remain hopeful about CBF's future."
The CBF's moderator-elect, Christy McMillin-Goodwin, minister of education and missions at Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., stated in the news release, "My heart goes out to the faithful servants of this Fellowship who are now faced with difficult transitions. They will be in our prayers as they follow God's call to their next phase of ministry."
Adapted from a news release issued by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
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