Events, missions, litigation mark 2009 - Word&Way

Events, missions, litigation mark 2009

Historic events, mission involvement and continuing litigation characterized 2009. Word&Way looks back at the year’s highlights.

Baptist life

January — Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty launched a regional campus at the KCI Airport exit with its own campus pastor and through DVD offerings of Sunday worship at its Liberty site.

April 2-4 — Baptists across Missouri participated in the Baptist

Baptist World Alliance president David Coffey, left, talks with Harold and Crystal Wolgast of Topeka, Kan., at the historic Baptist Border Crossing event at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Liberty. The meeting was one of four regional New Baptist Covenant celebrations in 2009.

Border Crossing event at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Liberty. The historic event was the second of four regional New Baptist Covenant celebrations held in 2009, an outgrowth of a national meeting former President Jimmy Carter organized in Atlanta in early 2008. The events were designed to encourage Baptists to become agents of reconciliation, collaboration and justice. Carter was among guest speakers at the Liberty meeting.

May 31 — Tammy Jackson Gill received the Baptist Women in Ministry Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry. A student at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Gill is pastor to children and families at Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City; clinical director for Wellspring Ministries, Lee’s Summit; and founder and executive director of Healing Grace Counseling Centers in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg.

July 9 — The Baptist Church Music Conference, a national organization, honored longtime Missouri Baptist musician and former MBC church music department head Bob Woolley with its Lifetime Ministry Award.

Oct. 11 — Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association messengers agreed to sell the association’s mission center building in Lee’s Summit and use the funds to realize their vision for ministry in the area.

Oct. 23 — The Baptist Home, Arcadia Valley, celebrated Jewell Stehlik’s 110th birthday. Born on Oct. 25, 1899, Stehlik is now considered a supercentenarian and is the state’s third oldest individual.


Feb. 3 — By a 44-4 margin, the Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board elected David Tolliver as the convention’s executive director. Tolliver had served as interim executive director since April 2007, after the board fired the MBC’s former executive, David Clippard.

April 14 — The MBC Executive Board approved using Cooperative Program gifts to fund ongoing litigation against Word&Way, Windermere Bap­tist Conference Center, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and The Baptist Home. The MBC filed legal action against the five formerly affiliated institutions on Aug. 13, 2002.

July 14 — MBC board members accepted their peace committee’s final report and allocated up to $100,000 from reserves to pursue biblical reconciliation between two “conservative” factions — the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association and the Save Our Convention group. Each had been fielding candidates for MBC leadership positions.

Oct. 26-28 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting approved the Executive Board’s recommendation to use Cooperative Program gifts to pay costs of ongoing legal action against five entities. They also approved three new mission partnerships — northern Illinois; northern Ontario, Canada; and Africa’s western cluster — and extended the convention’s partnership with El Salvador through 2011. The meeting capped the MBC’s 175th anniversary.


April 2 — Participants in the Baptist General Convention of Missouri annual meeting approved a cooperative giving budget of $488,000, with $319,640 going to its ministries and the remaining $168,360 to be used to support 10 institutions. Randall Bunch of Eldon was elected to a second term as president.


April 24-25 — Participants in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri General Assembly shared a worship experience and served together in ministry at their annual meeting. During a brief business session, participants approved a $220,000 ministry plan. On Saturday, they ministered through 11 service projects.

Legal issues

Feb. 3 — A Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, three-judge panel unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that Windermere Baptist Conference Center acted within its legal rights when it changed its articles of incorporation in 2001. The appellate court heard oral arguments on Nov. 25, 2008, in the case that stemmed from Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan’s ruling on March 4, 2008. The MBC filed an appeal after Callahan ruled in Windermere’s favor.

Feb. 18 — The MBC asked the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to rehear the MBC appeal of the court’s Windermere ruling or to transfer the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. It also filed a direct request to the Supreme Court to hear the case.

April 8 — The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, denied MBC’s rehearing motion and request to transfer the case to the state’s Supreme Court.

April 9 — Camden County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Hayden dismissed an MBC lawsuit against Windermere in Camden County, noting that the legal action mirrored the lawsuit the MBC had filed against Windermere, The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Word&Way and Missouri Baptist University in Cole County on Aug. 13, 2002. Judge Hayden dismissed the case against all defendants except former MBC executive director Jim Hill.

May 5 — The Missouri Supreme Court turned down an MBC request to hear its appeal in its Camden County litigation against Windermere.

June 22 — Judge Hayden allowed the MBC Executive Board to substitute an amended petition in its Camden County lawsuit against Windermere. However, the judge upheld his April 9 ruling, dismissing the case against Windermere, its attorneys, several financial institutions and Springfield developer William R. Jester.

July 15 — Judge Hayden permitted Jester to file an amended counterclaim to the legal action the MBC had filed against him in Camden County. The MBC had filed a motion to dismiss Jester’s counterclaim, insisting the judge’s dismissal of the MBC lawsuit also killed the developer’s legal response. Jester’s counterclaim seeks at least $15 million from the MBC to compensate for lost profits caused by the legal delay.

Disaster relief

Jan. 27 — Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief teams joined volunteers from Tennessee, chaplains from the Billy Graham Association and a Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief team to assist people in Southeast Missouri after ice and snowstorms knocked out power in the Bootheel.

Higher education

Feb. 1 — Robert E. Johnson, Baptist historian and editor of the American Baptist Quarterly, was named academic dean at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan. He stepped into the post on June 1.

Feb. 26 — Missouri Baptist University trustees set the school’s operating budget at $31.5 million for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

March 12 — Central Baptist Theological Seminary received a $2 million gift from the John and Eula Mae Baugh Foundation of San Antonio, Texas, which will enable the seminary to construct a chapel on its Shawnee, Kan., campus.

May 21 — William Jewell College and Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China, signed a memorandum of understanding, opening the door to future cooperative efforts. The agreement will allow high school students from Changchun to complete two years at NENU and then transfer to Jewell.

Sept. 11 — Central Seminary broke ground for its new Baugh-Marshall Chapel. The facility is part of a larger construction plan, which will include a library and walkway.

Political engagement

January — Missouri Christians Against Racism and Poverty, including its chair and Baptist General Convention of Missouri executive director Jim Hill and First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, pastor Doyle Sager, held a Legislative Breakfast Forum for legislators and faith leaders to discuss healthcare issues.

April 16 — Baptists were among clergy and laity that converged at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City for a roundtable discussion about healthcare for the state’s poorest children. Communities Creating Opportunity organized the event after the Legislature rejected a budget amendment that would have covered 10,000 children.

June 9 — Baptists participated in a Poverty Summit in Jefferson City, led by Missourians to End Poverty.

Missouri WMU

March 26 — Kati Miinch and Larissa Petzoldt, both of First Baptist Church, Jackson, were among six teens selected as 2009 National Acteens panelists. Acteens is the national Woman’s Missionary Union missions organization for girls in grades 7-12.

April 17-18 — Lorraine Powers of Blue Springs completed five years as Missouri WMU president. Joan Dotson of Lake St. Louis was elected to succeed her. National WMU executive director Wanda Lee was the featured speaker for the organization’s annual meeting.