Commission asks for
two studies, names new staff
___By Marv Knox
___The Baptist General Convention of Texas' State Missions Commission has asked the convention to create two committees to study the BGCT's relationship with unique groups of Baptists.
___Messengers to the BGCT annual session in November will be asked to approve a committee to study the "basis of associational formation" and another to examine the BGCT's "relationship with churches aligned with another state convention in Texas."
___The State Missions Commission approved the committee requests at its summer meeting in Dallas Aug. 19.
___The study committees relate to several developments of the past year.
___The committee to study the "basis of associational formation" relates to two events that took place this summer.
___A group of Texans affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate national organization, announced they plan to form the Baptist Association of the Southwest. It is to be a "non-geographic" association that would relate to the BGCT. It could include churches in bordering states, as well as Texas Baptist churches affiliated with existing associations.
___In addition, 19 Hispanic Baptist churches have asked the BGCT to name a Hispanic associational director of missions to work with the North Central Texas Companerismo, or Hispanic fellowship. This could have the effect of creating a Hispanic association that would overlap the boundaries of six BGCT-affiliated associations.
___Traditionally, associations have been based on "doctrinal affinity and geographic proximity," noted the commission's director, James Semple.
___"In the present day, there appears to be an increase in feeling that associations need not be limited geographically but can also be formed from ethnic, cultural or affinity groupings without geographical parameters," Semple said. But such changes present serious implications that could weaken existing associations, he warned.
___If approved, the nine-member study committee would include three laypeople, three church staff members and three associational directors of missions. The BGCT president and vice presidents would appoint the committee.
___The other study committee would examine the state convention's relationship with churches that have "dually aligned" with the BGCT and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, an ultra-conservative group that formed last year, citing displeasure with recent BGCT actions.
___The study committee would look at funding mission churches, Annuity Board participation, church loans and other BGCT services for churches affiliated with Southern Baptists of Texas.
___This committee would include three laity, three church staff and three missions directors--all appointed by the BGCT president and vice presidents--plus the chairs of the BGCT's Mission Funding Committee, Church Loan Corp. board and Administrative Committee.
___In other business, the missions commission elected:
___ Dexton Shores as director of River Ministry, the convention's missions program along both sides of the Rio Grande.
___ Shores has been coordinator of church extension for San Antonio Baptist Association since 1996. Previously, he was associate director of missions and missions development coordinator for Dogwood Trails Baptist Area. He has been pastor or interim pastor of nine Texas Baptist churches, eight of them Hispanic congregations.
___Shores originally was proposed for the position in May, but the vote was delayed when Hispanic Baptist leaders expressed concerns that Hispanic candidates for the job had not been given due consideration. At the August meeting, they affirmed Shores but strongly urged the BGCT to give serious consideration to Hispanics for important leadership positions.
___ John Silva as a church-starting consultant for West Texas, based in Lubbock.
___Silva has been pastor of Mission El Calvario in Crosbyton since 1995 and president of Companerismo de Los Planos since 1997. He also has been a youth minister, youth counselor and juvenile probation officer.
___ Roy Cotton as a church-starting consultant for the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
___Cotton has been an African-American church development specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board since 1994. Previously, he was associate director of campus ministry for Virginia Baptists for 16 years.
___ Fred Ater as coordinator of the Texas Baptist Church Starting Center's church-starting institute.
___Ater has been a Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary since 1984, serving in Brazil and Estonia. He also has been a minister of education for churches in Texas and Mississippi.
___ Andre Punch as a black church consultant for Sunday School and Discipleship Training programs.
___Punch has been a bivocational minister of education, counseling and youth at Singing Hills Baptist Church in Dallas since 1995 and a clinical counselor in Dallas since 1993. He also has taught school and owned a landscaping business.
___The commission elected five trustees to the board of Hispanic Baptist Theological School in San Antonio, with terms to expire in 2002. They are Bill Blackburn of Kerrville, Mario Ramos of San Antonio, Charles Lee Williamson of Rowlett, Lawanna McIver of Dallas and Joe Castillo of Houston.
___Commissioners elected seven trustees to the board of the Valley Baptist Mission/Education Center in Harlingen: Claudio Cruz of Harlingen to fill an unexpired term through 2000; Bill Frazier of Corpus Christi, Mary Valerio of Houston, Darryl White of Harlingen, Marilyn Evers of Houston, Ernesto Chapa of McAllen and Jerry Johnson of LaFeria to terms expiring in 2002.
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