Baptists throughout the Midwest were active in ministry, missions and business in 2012. Word&Way highlights some of last year’s top news, gleaned from stories that appeared in the news journal in 2012.
March 10 — Members of Great Rivers Region Area V of American Baptist Churches-USA learned about personality-based evangelism at their annual meeting.
May 12 — Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kan., celebrated graduation, including the first cohort from its create program, an entrepreneurial master of divinity degree.
Sept. 21-23 — American Baptist Churches of Nebraska concentrate on missional church at their annual meeting. Larry Harvey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hastings, was elected as president.
Oct. 20 — American Baptist Church Central Region Executive Director John Williams urged listeners to rely on God as the region faced drawing from financial reserves.
Jan. 26 — Sports Crusaders, based in Holt Summit, Mo., added a staffer in Texas to expand the ministry into Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Feb. 10 — Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., resigned ahead of a trustee effort to fire him. His resignation was effective Feb. 29. The president had sparred with trustees over financial issues throughout his 11-year tenure. The board named Robin Hadaway, associate professor of missions, as acting president.
Feb. 28 — Word&Way trustees decided to expand the news journal’s coverage of other Baptist groups in Missouri and adjacent states.
May 12 — A bicycling accident left Word&Way Editor Bill Webb hospitalized for a few weeks and sidelined from the news journal for a couple of months.
May 23 — Charlie Burnett, pastor of Harmony Heights Baptist Church in Joplin, Mo., recalled the EF-5 tornado that ripped through the city on May 22, 2011. The storm destroyed the church’s building, killing three women worshippers.
June 28 — The Baptist House of Mercy at Zhemchuzhinka, Kobrin, Belarus, opened its doors to six residents. The Baptist Home in Missouri partnered with Baptists in Belarus to assist with ministry to older adults in that country.
July 22 — An apparent mechanical failure in a dryer unit completely destroyed the Whispering Oak Lodge at Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
Oct. 15 — MBTS named Jason K. Allen, vice president for institutional advancement at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as Midwestern’s fifth president.
March 2 — Churchnet (the Baptist General Convention of Missouri) approved a $300-per-month grant for five years to the European Baptist Federation to assist indigenous church planters in Eastern Europe. In addition, Churchnet will donate the offering taken at each annual missions banquet over the same period to the cause.
April 13-14 — Churchnet celebrated its 10th anniversary by hosting its annual gathering at Fee Fee Baptist Church in Bridgeton, Mo., site of the group’s organizational meeting. John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance, was guest speaker.
May 6 — Proponents, including Churchnet Executive Director Jim Hill, of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative to cap the annual percentage rate on short-term, often called payday, loans delivered about 180,000 signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.
July 1 — Hill became the new president of the North American Baptist Fellowship, one of six regional fellowships affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance.
Sept. 4 — Proponents, including Churchnet leaders, of a Missouri ballot initiative to cap payday loan rates and to raise the state’s minimum wage dropped efforts after realizing they would be unable to meet a deadline to recover more than 30,000 signatures declared invalid on petitions to get the two initiatives on the Nov. 4 ballot.
March 15 — Together for Hope West, an arm of national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Together for Hope initiative for community development, held listening sessions in Missouri, including one at First Baptist Church in Columbia.
April 27-28 — Attendees at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri General Assembly heard Bob Hamblin, longtime William Faulkner Scholar at Southeast Missouri State University, portray the late Baptist civil rights champion Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga.
June 22 — Missouri CBFer Keith Herron, pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, stepped up as moderator of the national body.
Jan. 1 — Betty Cox made history when she stepped up as trustee chair for the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home — a spot only men had filled for the previous 70 years, even though the Home was started by women as the Orphans’ Home Association on April 1, 1886.
March 27 — The Missouri Baptist Convention was one of four denominations to participate in a “religious liberty” rally at the Missouri Capitol to decry the federal government’s requirement for religious organizations to provide contraceptive drugs and services to their employees.
April 10 — The MBC Executive Board increased a bridge loan from its reserves from $150,000 borrowed in 2010 to $225,000 to cover expenses in ongoing litigation against Windermere Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Word&Way, which is no longer a litigant. The convention had repaid $25,000 of the original loan, but will not repay the current loan until the lawsuits end.
April 20-21 — Woman’s Missionary Union of Missouri and MBC women’s ministry heard missionaries and conducted business during M-Counter, their annual session. The two organizations announced they would separate under MBC reorganization. Ron and Ina Winstead were honored as WMU’s 2012 Emeritus Missionaries of the Year.
May 5 — Hannibal-LaGrange University named Anthony Allen, senior vice president for administration and chief administrative officer at Midwestern Seminary, as the school’s 17th president, to take over in late summer after President Woodrow Burt retired. Burt was named emeritus president.
May 29 — MBC Director of Evangelism Gary Taylor passed away after a long battle with cancer. The convention established the R. Gary Taylor Memorial Fund for Evangelism in his honor.
July 12 — Missouri Baptist Deaf Youth Camp celebrated its 30th anniversary as the only Bible-based camp for Deaf children and youth in Missouri.
Sept. 7 — Former MBC evangelism director, pastor, evangelist, university minister and artist Dave Bennett passed away in Springfield, Mo.
Sept. 18 — A three-judge panel for the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, returned the MBC dispute with the Missouri Baptist Foundation back to Cole County District Court after determining the lower court had not settled all the issues. Oral arguments in the MBF appeal had been made on July 25.
Oct. 29-31 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting approved two four-year partnerships, one with Hudson River Valley Baptist Association in New York and one with the International Mission Board’s Connecting Cluster of the Americans and the Puebla/Tlaxcala, Mexico Regional Baptist Convention.