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Central Triad votes merger with Piedmont
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
March 03, 2010
3 MIN READ TIME

Central Triad votes merger with Piedmont

Central Triad votes merger with Piedmont
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
March 03, 2010

Members of Central Triad

Baptist Association in High Point approved a motion March 2 to merge with the

Piedmont Baptist Association in neighboring Greensboro.

Piedmont members will

consider the merger during a meeting at Life Community Church March 22. If the

vote is positive, the two will merge into a 120-church Piedmont Baptist

Association March 31.

BR file photo by Norman Jameson

At age 76, J.C. Bradley, director of missions at Central Triad Baptist Association, sees a merger with Piedmont Baptist Association as the best option for Central Triad, which is struggling financially.

Merger talks were prompted

last fall when the largest contributing church to the Central Triad Association

cut its contribution in half and the second largest contributing church dropped

its associational gifts altogether.

That decrease put the association in a

financial squeeze, and it is “flying too close over the treetops” to go on,

said J.C. Bradley, director of missions in Central Triad.

It has an $85,000 debt on

its office condo which is worth several times that amount; and a single staff

member.

Central Triad, formed in part out of the Piedmont Association in 1958,

has 37 churches. Piedmont has 83.

Bradley is 76 years old and

will retire March 31.

Bradley, recognized last fall with a lifetime achievement

award from the North American Mission Board (NAMB), has been a missiologist in

Baptist life, working for many years with NAMB in associational

relations.

Patrick Fuller, Piedmont

Association moderator and president of the board, says a merger will help to

unify the two Guilford County communities. Greensboro and High Point are

practically connected by a highly commercialized artery called Wendover Avenue.

But politically they’ve wrestled for the funds and affection of Guilford

County.

“This can be a statement to

the community at large that we’re coming together,” said Fuller, pastor of Southside

Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Response at listening

sessions conducted thus far is positive, although Russ Reaves, pastor of

Immanuel Baptist Church in Greensboro, has published opposition to the merger,

based on questions of autonomy, efficiency and the wholesale admission of High

Point churches into the association without a doctrinal examination, as each

would have if they applied for associational membership individually.

After the vote March 2 Bradley said throughout the

process he has stressed to Central Triad churches the importance of the mission

still to be performed in a growing population with increasing diversity.

In the

face of diminishing finances “survival of the association” was never the issue

for Bradley. Instead, he sought the merger to guarantee High Point churches can

continue to work together to “accomplish the mission.”