2010 saw changes in Baptist life in Missouri - Word&Way

2010 saw changes in Baptist life in Missouri

The year 2010 was full of news for Baptists in Missouri. Following is a summary drawn from the pages of Word&Way.

Baptist life

Feb. 28 — Longtime pastor Richard "Dick" Lionberger retired after serving First Baptist Church, Savannah, for 22 years.

March 29 — Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of celebrated evangelist Bill Graham, spoke to an overflow crowd in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City to kick off 40 days of prayer for the lawmakers as they struggled with the state's budget.

June 2 — Philanthropist and Springfield-based developer William R. Jester passed away. Through his consulting firm, Resource Development Inc., he helped Southwest Baptist University, the Missouri Baptist Children's Home and many other entities. He also contributed personal funds to several of them.

June 26 — A delegation from The Baptist Home and musicians from the First Baptist churches of Farmington, Dexter, Oak Grove and Jackson helped dedicate the Baptist House of Mercy, a home for elderly Belarusian Baptists, in Kobrin, Belarus.

Aug. 13 — James Smith, president and treasurer of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, announced plans to retire from the organization and to assume a similar post with national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Sept. 16 — A computer hacker invaded the websites of Word&Way and its New Voice Media Group partners — Associated Baptist Press, the [Virginia] Religious Herald and the [Texas] Baptist Standard. The breach was found and security was tightened.

Sept. 19 — Vernon Armitage stepped down as pastor of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Liberty, retiring after more than 40 years in ministry.

Sept. 30Word&Way publicly launched its capital campaign — Truth Matters — to raise $500,000 each year for five years.

Nov. 15 — Terry Lamberth retired as director of missions for Clay-Platte Baptist Association after nearly 22 years of service.


March 26-27 — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Missouri's annual meeting approved a new strategy plan and ministry that includes adding "Churchnet" to its name, pursuing a goal in seven strategic areas and following a five-year emphasis, "Share Hope."


June 12 — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri named John Alexander as its disaster response coordinator and agreed to purchase and stock a trailer to use for community ministry and disaster response.

Higher education

Jan. 1 — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary launched an effort to find 1,500 people to volunteer from May 26 through Labor Day to help build a new chapel complex.

April 1 — Administrators and students of Baptist private colleges and universities wrote letters, held rallies and called legislators to stave off a proposal by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to cut off all aid to private school students in an effort to trim the state's budget.

May 16 — Fourteen Hannibal-LaGrange College students and a faculty sponsor were hurt in a truck crash while in Haiti on a mission trip.

July 13 – Missouri Baptist University Alumni Director Rob Cornwell passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 44.

Legal issues

Jan. 14 — Windermere Development Co., owned by Springfield developer William R. Jester, filed a bankruptcy petition to halt a foreclosure sale in Camden County on acreage once owned by Windermere Baptist Conference Center.

Jan. 15 — A Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the Missouri Baptist Convention's second lawsuit to reclaim land once owned by Windermere. The MBC is the plaintiff in two lawsuits — one filed in Cole County in 2002 against five formerly affiliated entities — Windermere, The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Word&Way — and one filed against Windermere, a former MBC employee and several financial institutions in 2006 in Camden County.

April 13 — The MBC dipped into its reserves to supply a bridge loan to its Agency Restoration Fund to pay legal fees mounting in its case against five formerly affiliated entities. The Executive Board also voted to require MBC representatives — including those who had served in the past — to refrain from talking about legal matters with people outside the MBC's attorney-client umbrella.

April 23 — The MBC voluntarily dropped Word&Way from litigation in Cole County it had filed on Aug. 13, 2002, but the Executive Board took official action to continue to exclude Word&Way from the board's meetings.

April 30 — The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, dismissed the MBC appeal of its Camden County case against Windermere and sent the case back to Camden County.

June 23 — The MBC filed a motion to send its legal action in Camden County against Windermere to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Sept. 17 — The U.S. District Court refused to hear the MBC Camden County lawsuit against Windermere and returned the case to the lower court.

Dec. 31 — The MBC won its legal action against the Foundation in Cole County. An appeal is likely.


Jan. 15 — Concord Baptist Association sent a team to build the first home under the MBC's "Mi Casa es Su Casa" (My House is Your House) project to construct 10 new homes in El Salvador's San Vicente region hard hit by flash flooding.

Jan. 25-26 — The MBC's annual evangelism conference kicked off the convention's 10-year evangelism plan, GPS (God's Plan for Sharing) and featured several denominational leaders, including New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, Georgia pastor Larry Wynn and Jerry Pipes, team leader of the North American Mission Board's spiritual awakening/mass evangelism team.

April 9-10 — Missouri Woman's Missionary Union reelected Joan Dotson of First Baptist Church, Lake St. Louis, as president, and honored the MBC's WMU/women's ministry specialist Vivian McCaughan, who was battling cancer, by giving $1,011 to support special projects, leadership development and other programming.

April 18 — McCaughan, a longtime North American Mission Board missionary, passed away at her home, losing her battle with ovarian cancer. She was 62.

April 30-May 1 — Missouri WMU launched the Missouri chapter of Parents of Missionaries Fellowship, a support network.

July 13 — The MBC Executive Board established an endowment in McCaughan's honor to benefit church planting, partnership missions, leadership development and multi-housing ministry in Missouri.

Oct. 26 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting halted an effort to change Hannibal-LaGrange College's name to the University of Hannibal, which had been adopted earlier in the year by college trustees and the MBC Executive Board after the school achieved university status. Messengers approved the name Hannibal-LaGrange University.

Oct. 26 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting again stopped a move to end nearly nine years of legal wrangling in two cases – one in Cole County the convention filed in 2002 and one in Camden County the MBC filed in 2006.