MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Baptists learned the latest news of their disaster relief (DR) outreach to survivors of superstorm Sandy and approved a partnership with a new Baptist college during their 30th annual meeting, Nov. 9-10 in Marlborough, Mass.
John Scoggins, one of the convention’s DR volunteer leaders, told the 118 messengers in attendance that assessments were being done of damaged homes along the south shore of Connecticut. Scoggins also updated messengers on New England-operated feeding units in the disaster zone.
Messengers approved a recommendation from their board of directors to enter into partnership with Northeastern Baptist College, a new institution that will open next fall. Northeastern’s president, Mark Ballard, has served in New England for nearly 15 years as a convention president, pastor, church planter and interim director of missions.
Messengers approved a 2013 budget of $2,465,355, a decrease of 4 percent from the 2012 amount of $2,576,652. The convention has budgeted for $709,419 in Cooperative Program (CP) receipts from its churches, a 7.6 percent increase, allocating 25 percent of the CP gifts to national and international SBC causes, after a designation of $252,439 to shared ministry items with the SBC. The overall budget includes $1,583,957 in funding from the North American Mission Board and $65,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources.
The convention awarded the Robert H. Brindle Award to church planters Rich Clegg and Matt Hastey of Manchester, N.H., for their work in cross-cultural church planting. Grace Baptist Church in Hudson, N.H., was given the Raymond C. Allen Award for missions and evangelism, recognizing their numerous community ministries and commitment to worldwide missions.
Messengers re-elected as president Ron Mills, a layman at Island Pond Baptist Church in Hampstead, N.H., and, as vice president, Neal Davidson, pastor of Hope Chapel in Sterling, Mass. The group also re-elected Sandy Coelho as clerk and Sandy Wideman as historian.
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, presented the keynote address and Shaun Pillay preached the annual sermon. Pillay is pastor of Cornerstone International Church in Norwich, Ct., and NAMB church planting catalyst for southeastern New England.
Messengers honored transformational leadership director Randy Sprinkle with a resolution of appreciation, a cash gift and a book of remembrances. Sprinkle is taking an early medical retirement after serving since 2006 on the leadership development team, focusing on ministry to pastors and other church leaders. Sprinkle also served 25 years in various capacities with the International Mission Board and two years as executive director of the Wyoming Baptist Convention.
Messengers also approved a resolution calling for prayer for national leadership and revival for America, based on the current state of declining morality across the nation.
The 2013 annual meeting will be Nov. 8-9, also in Marlborough. Larry Green, pastor of Timothy Baptist Church in Roxbury, Mass., was chosen to preach the 2013 annual sermon, with Clark Rumfelt, pastor of The Church at Waverly, as alternate.
The messengers and 83 guests represented over 70 churches and all seven associations. The BCNE encompasses more than 325 churches and church plants in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jim Wideman is executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.)