Word&Way looks back at 2011 - Word&Way

Word&Way looks back at 2011

Baptists in Missouri were active in ministry, missions and business throughout 2011. Word&Way highlights some of 2011's top news, gleaned from stories that appeared in the news journal during the year.

Albert Pujols helps Missouri Baptist University open its new sports and recreation complex with his basketball All-Star game to benefit the Pujols Family Foundation (MBU photo).

Baptist life

Jan. 1 — Albert Bean, retired professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, "retired" from writing Sunday School commentary for Word&Way after 16 years.

Jan. 1 — Word&Way marked its 10th anniversary as a separate institution in Baptist life.

Feb. 1 — Tom Hufty, Hannibal-LaGrange University vice president for collegiate affairs and assistant to the president, became full-time pastor at First Baptist Church, Maryville, Ill., where the former pastor died in the pulpit after being shot by a gunman on March 8, 2009.

Feb. 3 — Missouri Baptist author George Joslin of Springfield produced what may be the first American Sign Language-only novel, A Deaf Man's Gospel, on DVD.

March 1 — The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation granted Word&Way a $50,000 grant to support the news journal's "Truth Matters" campaign.

May 22 — At least two Missouri Baptist churches were hard hit by a tornado that swept through the heart of Joplin. Three people died at Harmony Heights Baptist Church, located across the street from Joplin High School. Hundreds of volunteers have ministered in the city since the disaster struck.

July 7 — Paul Brooks, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Raytown, resigned after acknowledging that he and an unnamed staff member had engaged in behavior the church would consider "moral failures." The church also allowed Brooks to officially retire and retain his retirement package.

July 26 — Missouri's oldest person, Lodema Jewell Stehlik, passed away at age 111. Born in Cave Springs, Kan., on Oct. 25, 1899, she had lived at The Baptist Home in Arcadia Valley since 1996.

Aug. 9 — A coalition that includes several faith communities and faith-based organizations began its public push for support of more stringent reform of unsecured consumer loan reform after Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan approved a ballot summary for an initiative petition on the November 2012 ballot.

Aug. 12 — The Missouri Baptist Foundation named Christopher "Chris" Calmer as its new president. Calmer followed James R. Smith, who retired as MBF president (1992-2010) and then became president of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Foundation.

Sept. 10-11 — Several churches and organizations around the state commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Nov. 17-19 — St. Luke Memorial Baptist Church in St. Louis hosted the regional meeting of the New Baptist Covenant II, with Scott Stearman, senior pastor of Kirkwood Baptist Church, as the event coordinator. St. Louis was one of seven regional sites of the national meeting broadcast from Atlanta.


April 1 — Churchnet (Baptist General Convention of Missouri) changed its constitution to eliminate a previous requirement for a contribution of at least $200 as a condition of membership, and dropped its limit on the number of representatives a congregation can send to Churchnet's annual meeting.


March 12 — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri increased its goal for its Roma Gypsy partnership in Slovakia from $38,000 to $50,000.

April 8-9 — CBFMO affirmed Bruce Gentry of Cape Girardeau as moderator for 2011-12 during its General Assembly. In addition, dozens of attendees did mission projects across Liberty where this year's meeting took place.

June 11 — CBFMO Coordinating Council approved its Fellowship Scholars Program to provide six scholarships to students preparing for ministry at various institutions — shifting from direct support to William Jewell College and Missouri Baptist University.

June 24 — National Cooperative Baptist Fellowship chose Keith Herron, pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, as moderator-elect for 2011-12.

Sept. 17 — CBFMO Coordinating Council approved offering a cash incentive to churches that include a woman candidate as they search for a new pastor.

Sept. 17 — The Missouri Fellowship set up a mission grant as a result of a $180,000 from Christ Memorial Baptist Church. CBFMO received the gift in June as a result of the church's closure in 2010. Most of the gift was placed with the national CBF Foundation, with proceeds to continue to fund the grant program.

Nov. 17 — St. Louis attorney Cynthia Holmes was named to the nine-member committee to search for a new coordinator for national CBF to replace Daniel Vestal, who will retire from the post on June 30. Holmes is a former national moderator and currently serves on the national Coordinating Council's Personnel Committee.

Higher education

April 8 — Central Baptist Theological Seminary dedicated its new Baugh-Marshall Chapel. CBTS broke ground for the facility in 2009 with a $2 million grant from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.

April 15 — Hannibal-LaGrange University broke ground for its Roland Library, which is expected to open in the spring of 2012.

May 7 — HLGU named Jeff Brown as director of campus ministries.

May 10 — Southwest Baptist University trustees approved three new degree programs — bachelor of social work, bachelor of science in exercise science and master of science in nursing.

July 21 — CBTS' center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., became fully accredited and officially launched as the Central Baptist Theological Seminary Tennessee.

Oct. 1 — CBTS and the Myanmar Institute of Theology launched a doctor of ministry degree collaboration, with a missional studies track in the institution's D.Min. in congregational health. A dozen students and three faculty members from the institute studied at CBTS' Shawnee, Kan., campus in October to begin the program.

Oct. 11 — SBU honored President C. Pat Taylor and wife Judy for 15 years of service.

Oct. 30 — Missouri Baptist University opened its new $11-million sports and recreation complex by hosting the first annual Albert Pujols All-Star Basketball Game to benefit the Pujols Family Foundation. The game kicked off a weeklong celebration that included dedication of the facility on Nov. 3.

Nov. 10 — CBTS and Third Baptist Church in St. Louis have partnered to offer the yearlong FOUNDATIONS certificate in ministry program in the St. Louis metro area. The program is partially funded through a legacy from the former Des Peres Baptist Church.

Nov. 15 — HLGU trustees named its executive committee to serve as a presidential search committee to work with Bob Agee of the recruiting firm ASA Development Services of Jackson, Tenn., to find a new university president to assume the role when current leader Woodrow Burt retires on Aug. 31.

Legal issues

Jan. 26 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Byron Kinder issued a stay of a Dec. 31, 2010, order by outgoing Judge Paul Wilson against the Missouri Baptist Foundation so that the MBF would have enough time to file an appeal in the case. In December, Judge Wilson ruled that the Foundation did not have the right to file amendments it made to its charter in October 2001 without MBC approval.

Feb. 8 — The Foundation filed a notice of appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District of former Judge Wilson's Dec. 31 order.

March 29 — The Missouri Court of Appeals dismissed the Foundation request for an appeal, ruling it did not have jurisdiction in the case and returning the case to Cole County.

June 21 — The Foundation filed a second notice of appeal of Judge Wilson's Dec. 31 order.

Sept. 28 — Travis Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Stover, was acquitted of a child molestation charge in Miller County.


Jan. 6 — Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director David Tolliver resigned due to "immoral behavior," according to a Jan. 7 press release issued by the convention. Jay Hughes, associate executive director of support services, was named as interim executive director on Jan. 14.

April 12 — The MBC Executive Board named an 11-member executive director search committee, with President John Marshall serving as an ex-officio member. The board also learned that the convention faced a potential $500,000 shortfall.

April 15-16 — Women from across the state participated in the Missouri Woman's Missionary Union/Women's Ministry M-Counter weekend at First Baptist Church, Springfield. MWMU celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Alberta Gilpin Fund, which honors Gilpin who served as the organization's executive director from 1973-2000.

July 12 — The MBC Executive Board approved fully funding eight of 16 specialist positions in 2012, with eight others to continue to be jointly funded with the North American Mission Board. In 2011, NAMB shifted its funding priorities primarily to church planting, which has meant that state conventions have had to start looking for resources to fund positions not considered as related to church planting.

Oct. 11 — Betty Cox of Cape Girardeau was chosen to chair the Missouri Baptist Children's Home board, the first woman elected to the post in more than 70 years.

Oct. 13 — The Executive Board chose John Yeats, director of communications and public policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, as MBC executive director.

Oct. 31-Nov. 2 — Messengers to the 177th MBC annual meeting turned down a proposal to follow the Southern Baptist Convention's lead to allow giving options other than the Cooperative Program to count toward the number of messengers a church can send to each annual meeting.

Nov. 1 — The MBC ended its five-year partnership with Baptists in El Salvador and began two new mission partnerships — a four-year agreement with the Iowa Baptist Convention and a relationship with the Missouri National Guard to connect churches to Guardsmen and their families.