Events at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) annual meeting were as expected Nov. 12-13, with more potential for a closer vote on something slated for Wednesday morning, N.v. 14, when supporters of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) are expected to move that the Convention overrule its Executive Committee and General Board, which voted Oct. 25 to remove WMU-NC from the North Carolina Missions Offering, beginning in 2008.
On Monday, Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte sent a delegation to the BSCNC Executive Committee, stating that it was in violation of new “friendly cooperation” rules adopted in 2006 because it welcomes gays and lesbians, but asking to remain in fellowship. The Executive Committee ruled against them, but allowed church representatives to appeal to the Convention. That appeal took place on Tuesday morning, when messengers voted overwhelmingly to hear their appeal, then even more overwhelmingly to deny it, effectively disfellowshiping the church from the convention.
A measure designed to officially sever relationships with the five Baptist colleges that still have BSCNC ties passed the first stage of its journey: it must be approved again at the 2008 annual meeting.
Meanwhile, in a rather historic move, presidents or representatives from all seven colleges historically related to the BSCNC (including Wake Forest University and Meredith College) sat on the dais at First Baptist Church of Greensboro during a fellowship dinner held by
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC). The representatives all signed a pledge to provide tuition scholarships for qualifying children of missionaries serving through the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship organization (CBF). CBF has pledged to cover costs for housing and books, as much as possible.
A partnership between CBFNC and Baptists Today was also announced at the dinner. CBFNC will provide support for a new “North Carolina edition” of Baptists Today, set to begin in January.
The meeting did not focus on “getting out the vote” for the potential action related to WMUNC on Wednesday morning.
In an e-mail message to a mailing list of Conservative Carolina Baptists (CCB), BSCNC Board of Directors president had warned that “moderates/liberals” were planning a large gathering on Tuesday night in an effort to bring out more voters for the Wednesday morning session, calling for conservatives to remain for the last session. Blume’s call to action was echoed in an article by budget committee member Steve Hardy on the CCB website, and by blogger Tim Rogers. The CBFNC dinner and worship meeting, however, had been planned months in advance, and the dinner had sold out its 350 available seats some time before. The worship service held afterward included a testimony from a WMU staffer, but its major focus was for other purposes. CBFNC Larry Hovis affirmed to me earlier that CBFNC had made no efforts to “get out the vote” for WMU-NC, but was doing its part by encouraging churches to receive a special offering to assist WMUNC during its time of transition in moving from the Baptist building in Cary.
Watch this spot for an update of Wednesday morning activities, hopefully by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.