A look back on Midwest Baptists in 2013 - Word&Way

A look back on Midwest Baptists in 2013

Following is a look back through Word&Way archives at significant events the news journal reported in 2013.

Syrian refugees cover their faces for a photograph in an apartment in Amman, Jordan, in late September. At the time Word&Way editor Bill Webb visited with the family, Jordan had become the temporary home to about half a million Syrian refugees. They choose to remain anonymous to protect family back home. (Bill Webb photo)


Jan. 1 — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri officially became Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Heartland. The group changed its name to better reflect its makeup, including churches in Iowa, Kansas and Illinois. CBF formalized the new name by approving bylaw changes at its annual gathering in April.

June 21 — Keith Herron, pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., completed his term as moderator of the national CBF body for 2012-13. He summed up his stint: “We did a lot in a year,” emphasizing “we.”

Sept. 21 — CBF Heartland entered a three-year dental partnership with Good Samaritan Care Clinic in Mountain View, Mo.

American Baptists

Sept. 20-22 — Attendees at the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska region convention learned that giving had fallen about 7 percent for the year, but that God still provides. The regional office had offered several workshops and other training opportunities throughout the year.

Oct. 18-19 — Delegates to the American Baptist Churches Central Region annual gathering heard from missionaries and listened to reports. They also heard from outgoing national president Ruth Clark, a member of Judson Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kan.


April 6 — Churchnet elected its first layperson and first woman, Donna Potts, as president at its annual gathering. Potts is also a board member of the North American Baptist Fellowship, a regional arm of the Baptist World Alliance.


Oct. 28-30 — Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting agreed to increase the share the state’s Cooperative Program gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention, splitting the funds 60 percent to state causes and 40 percent to SBC causes.

Baptist life

Jan. 21 — The Baptist Home celebrated with John Burney on his 100th birthday at the Home’s Arcadia Valley campus. Burney served as the institution’s third superintendent and reached the centennial mark as the Home did.

Jan. 24 — Windermere Baptist Conference Center hired Jerry Hill as president and CEO, as volunteer Dan Bench stepped down from the post. Hill’s wife, Janet, was also named vice president for ministry programming.

March 6 — Missouri Baptist University officially kicked off its new football program, becoming the first and only National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) affiliate to support the sport in St. Louis.

March 14 — Longtime Baptist worker in Missouri Alberta Gilpin retired from her second vocation: staff member at Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo. Gilpin had served the Missouri Baptist Convention Women’s Missionary Union from 1967 to 2000, and joined the Parkade staff in 2001. March 15 — The Future Leadership Foundation, a ministry that focuses on training church leaders overseas, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

April 12-13 — Missouri WMU named Carolyn Houts, retired Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board missionary to Ghana, as its Emeritus Missionary of the Year. In addition, WMU honored longtime workers Beulah Peoples and Earlene Rogers.

May 4 —The Baptist Home celebrated its 100-year history with daylong festivities at its main campus in Arcadia Valley, Mo.

May 20 — Several buildings at Hannibal-LaGrange University suffered damage when a severe storm hit the area.

June 20 — The Missouri Baptist Foundation honored eight individuals by naming them to its Fellowship of Christian Stewards. The honorees included the late Dave Bennett, a former Baptist Student Union director, MBC evangelism director and Southwest Baptist University chair of evangelism; Bolivar, Mo., attorney Verna Haun; retired Penmac Corp. founder Patti Penny; Oklahomans Gordon and Karen Hatcher; Jim Nelson, director of advancement for The Baptist Home; Jeanie McGowan, an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Mo., and Micah Flint, chief programs officer for the International Institute for Medicine in Kansas City.

June 21 — American Baptists in Nebraska ministered with and worked alongside members of North Baptist Church in Ottawa, Kan., the week before they joined American Baptist Churches-USA members for the organization’s Mission Summit, biennial meeting in Overland Park, Kan.

July 4 — Missouri WMU celebrated 25 years of partnership with Lesotho, an ongoing effort that concentrates on prayer, going and giving.

July 17 — Several people, including student minister Dan Eubanks, were injured when a bus carrying the youth group from First Baptist Church of St. Charles, Mo., crashed in Georgia.

Oct. 10 — Word&Way Editor Bill Webb shared the story of a Syrian refugee family he and Virginia’s Religious Herald Editor Jim White met while in Amman, Jordan.

Legal issues

March 21 — Camden County Circuit Court Judge Ralph H. Jaynes dismissed legal action the Missouri Baptist Convention had filed in 2006 against Windermere and several financial institutions to regain control of the center’s property. The MBC is appealing that action.

June 10 — New charges of statutory rape and statutory sodomy were filed in Moniteau County, Mo., against Travis Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Stover, Mo.

July 21 — Charges were filed in Wright County, Mo., against Earnest Smith for allegedly firing shots in the sanctuary during morning worship services at First Baptist Church of Norwood, Mo.

Oct. 25 — Windermere filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court against the MBC in an effort to move ahead with utility improvements the facility needs.

Oct. 28-30 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting adopted a report by the Agency Restoration Group that included a plan to allow an attempt at mediation called for by Church Mutual Insurance, the MBC’s carrier. The move is part of ongoing litigation that began on Aug. 13, 2002, when the convention filed legal action against The Baptist Home, Windermere, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Word&Way in an attempt to regain control of those institutions after each had changed its governing documents to elect their own trustees.