Hispanics aim for future gains
___By Dan Martin
___Texas Baptist Communications
___WICHITA FALLS--Unity, the future and strength captured the attention of messengers to the 89th annual meeting of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, June 28-30.
___In addition to sermons, singing, fellowship and auxiliary meetings, 649 messengers fro
m the 1,010 congregations affiliated with the Hispanic convention:
|REPRESENTATIVES of the Hispanic Youth Convocation (at left) presented a cross on which teens tacked their names, pledging to take an active role in churches, preparing leadership for the future.
___ Re-elected three of the four top officers.
___ Authorized a committee to plan for the 21st century, to develop vision and mission statements and a strategic plan.
___ Requested the Baptist General Convention of Texas to appoint a director of missions to serve the churches of the North Central Texas Companerismo, or Hispanic fellowship.
___ Established a scholarship fund to aid Hispanic college and seminary students.
___ Heard a pledge from members of their youth organization to take a more active role in the life of their churches.
___Rudy Camacho, a layman from Fort Worth, was re-elected president without opposition. Javier Rios, a bivocational music leader at Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana in Dallas, was re-elected second vice president/music leader; and Ines Ramon Jr., pastor of Northwest Baptist Church of Corpus Christi, was re-elected secretary.
___Baldemar Borrego, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza of Wichita Falls, was elected first vice president/Sunday school and discipleship leader. He succeeds David Galvan, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida of Garland.
___Galvan was unable to attend because of the death of his mother, and convention rules specify a person must be present to be nominated for office.
___Camacho focused attention on unity, the future and strengthening the organization in his presidential address.
___"If we are going to continue winning Hispanics to Christ, we must be united," he emphasized. "It is necessary to continue to grow as a fellowship within the Baptist General Convention of Texas. I see no reason to change what has existed for 34 years," the link be
tween the two conventions.
|NEW OFFICERS of the Hispanic Baptist Convention are Baldemar Borrego (left) of Wichita Falls, first vice president; Rudy Camacho of Fort Worth, president; Ines Ramon Jr. of Corpus Christi, secretary; and Javier Rios of Dallas, second vice president. (Photos by Dan Martin)
___"Do not let lies and rumors destroy what others have created," he said in reference to the separation of some congregations from the BGCT.
___The retired layman noted that by the year 2000, l8 million Hispanics will live in Texas; by 2005, Hispanics will comprise 34 percent of the population.
___He challenged Hispanic Baptists to double the number of their churches--now 1,010--by the year 2010.
___He recalled that in 1992, Hispanic Baptists committed to start 600 new churches by the end of 2000 under the HBCT Vision 2000 program.
___"We have started 625, and it is only the middle of 1999," Camacho said, adding that Hispanic churches have pledged to start 117 more congregations.?
___He laid out a list of things to prepare the Hispanic convention for the 21st century:
___ Make "altar calls" to challenge young people to surrender their lives to Christian service and provide leadership.
___ Establish a scholarship fund to aid education of college and seminary students.
___ Teach Baptist distinctives.
___ Help other state conventions and organizations win Hispanics to Christ.
___ Strengthen the 42 Companerismos Bautistas Hispanos and use them as conduits for information and encouragement. The companerismos function as regional Hispanic fellowships overlaying the associations of the BGCT, often including a number of BGCT associations within one companerismo.
___ Encourage the BGCT to "continue to hire Hispanics" in ethnic and non-ethnic roles on all levels.
___Rudy Sanchez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana in Dallas, proposed a special committee to draft a vision statement, mission statement and strategic plan to prepare the HBCT for the 21st century. He noted the committee would study all of the recommendations made in Camacho's presidential address. The committee was approved without dissent.
___In a related development, Moises Perales, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel in Bridgeport and president of the North Central Texas Companerismo, moved to ask the Hispanic convention to request the BGCT name a Hispanic director of missions to work with the North Central Texas Companerismo, made up of 19 congregations and about 1,000 members.
___It includes churches that are members of six associations--Wichita-Archer-Clay, Parker, Palo Pinto, Denton, Grayson and Fannin.
___In making his request, Perales said, "Regular associations cannot promote the training Hispanic churches need."
___Officials of the HBCT said they will consider the request before deciding how to present it to the BGCT and the State Missions Commission, which coordinates the BGCT work with associations.
___Despite the fact only one negative vote was cast opposing Perales' recommendation, one DOM and three Hispanic pastors from the North Central Texas area expressed reservations and raised questions about the plan.
___Perales met with them after the final session.
___The 2000 annual meeting will be in Houston.
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