Messengers grant board authority to consider building sale

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by Guest Author — July 15, 2013

SAN ANTONIO — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting elected officers and granted the BGCT Executive Board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas.

In the second day of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering and during the first BGCT business session, messengers re-elected Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, to a second term as president by acclamation.

Messengers also elected by acclamation Kathy Hillman of Waco as first vice president, René Maciel of San Antonio as second vice president, Bernie Spooner of Coppell as secretary of the corporation and Doug Powell of Garland as registration secretary.

Van Christian, outgoing chair of the Executive Board and pastor of First Baptist Church in Comanche, presented a motion granting the board and a committee authority to negotiate the sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas “if it is determined that such sale is in the best interests” of the convention.

“Absolutely, positively, in no size, shape or fashion and without doubt, we are not voting to sell the Baptist Building,” Christian said, adding, “No offer has been made.”

Earlier this year, Baylor University approached the BGCT about the possibility of purchasing the Baptist Building for the Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The nursing school’s building on the Baylor Health Care System campus is at capacity. The Baptist Building is located adjacent to the health care system campus east of downtown Dallas.

No messengers raised questions from the floor, and the convention approved the motion overwhelmingly but not unanimously.

In a related action, messengers granted initial approval to a closely related constitutional amendment. The convention’s constitution names the physical address of the BGCT Executive Board as 333 N. Washington Avenue in Dallas. The amendment removes the reference to a physical address. As a constitutional amendment, it requires approval at two consecutive annual meetings.

Messengers approved a change in the bylaws, deleting language that gives detailed descriptions of committees and their duties. Instead, those descriptions become part of the BGCT Executive Board policy manual. Messengers also gave initial approval to a related constitutional amendment.

The convention constitution grants the BGCT Executive Board authority to organize itself in committees, subcommittees, groups, teams, councils and commissions, but the bylaws included a detailed list of committees and their duties.

Messengers also approved a change in convention bylaws to bring them in line with constitutional changes approved at the last two BGCT annual meetings, which grant the presidents of recognized ethnic fellowships voting privileges on the BGCT Executive Board. They also approved a change in the bylaws that would allow out-of-state Baptists to serve on groups, teams, councils and other Texas Baptist entities.

In miscellaneous business, Bill Jones, messenger from Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, made a motion that the text of changes to bylaws or the constitution be made available to the Baptist Standard for publication at least one month prior to any vote at a BGCT annual meeting.

By Ken Camp / Managing Editor

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