The Missouri Baptist Convention filed new legal action against five of its related agencies on October 25.
MBC attorneys filed a declaratory judgment action against The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, the Missouri Baptist Foundation and Word&Way in an effort to void new charters the institutions filed in 2000 and 2001. Charter changes allow the five entities to elect their own trustees rather than allowing the convention to continue to do so.
The convention originally filed legal action in Cole County Circuit Court against the five entities on August 13, 2002. Earlier this year Judge Thomas Brown dismissed the action on the grounds that the Executive Board and six representative churches did not have standing the legal right to file the lawsuit. Currently the MBC is appealing that ruling.
The new legal action, also filed in Cole County Circuit Court, names individual members, rather than churches, as plaintiffs. According to information released by the MBC, Robert Curtis, pastor of Ballwin Baptist Church, is among the plaintiffs.Curtis was first vice president of the convention in 2001 and president in 2002. He is also a member of the MBC legal task force. Curtis appointed the task force in 2001 at the request of members to the annual meeting.
Other plaintiffs include Mitchell Jackson, pastor of Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston; James Plymale, messenger from First Baptist Church, Villa Ridge; Lyn Heying, a messenger from New Oakland Baptist Church, Ralls County; and James Moore, a messenger from Concord Baptist Church, St. Louis.
According to the MBC, each of the five have served as messengers to annual meetings since 1999. Jackson served as MBC first vice president for 2004 and was elected president for 2005 during the October 26 morning session of the current annual meeting at First Baptist Church, Raytown.
Attorneys for the five agencies had not received a copy of the legal action by Tuesday afternoon. Foundation attorney Larry Tucker said he anticipated receiving a copy sometime on Wednesday. (10-26-04)