In brief, the morning session of the BSCNC was much better attended than usual, probably because of interest on both sides regarding a report concerning Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) and Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC).
After some discussion and a largely meaningless amendment, the BRH proposals passed by overwhelming margins. The proposals were, basically, to: (1) Encourage BRH to back up and go through the BSCNC bylaw-approved process for severing its relationship to the BSCNC and ask for a new one, (2) Provide some pro-rated funds from escrow to BRH, assuming that it complied with the first recommendation, and (3) Study other options for ministries to the aging beyond those provided by BRH.
BRH, whose trustees voted in December 2005 to become self-perpetuating, sent no representative to speak to the proposals, indicating an apparent lack of interest in further negotiations.
On the other hand, considerable interest and support was expressed for WMU-NC. When the budget was presented, committee chair Larry Burns said WMU-NC was eliminated from the proposed North Carolina Missions Offering budget for 2008-2009 because all WMU-NC staffers had announced plans to resign or retire as BSCNC employees by Dec. 31. That meant WMU-NC would have no further direct connection to the BSCNC, Burns said, though he acknowledged WMU-NC’s professed intention to remain supportive of the BSCNC and to continue working with BSCNC churches.
“In the past, NCMO has only funded things with direct connections” to the BSCNC, Burns said. Continuing to include WMU-NC would set a dangerous precedent, he said, as any independent ministry could ask to be included in the NCMO.
Burns said that, because of the Convention’s appreciation for WMU-NC, the Board of Directors had “agreed to support a special offering for WMU as an autonomous and independent missions organization.”
Former executive director Roy Smith made a motion that the NCMO goal for 2008 be increased by $500,000 to $2.5 million, with the additional funds to be allocated to WMU-NC.
After a number of speakers pro and con, the motion was defeated by a substantial but not overwhelming margin.
For more details, check out the stories posted on the Biblical Recorder website, and on the BSCNC’s dedicated annual meeting site. This blog and the previous one will be revised, combined, and updated in a more comprehensive blog to be posted later this (Wednesday) evening.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.