The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions approved six recommendations in what Executive Director Rick Lance described as an “eventful, strategic and historic” meeting May 15 in Montgomery.
One recommendation dealt with the “departure from biblical marriage” by an Alabama Baptist church, two dealt with the State Board’s executive committee and one created the first-ever state missions offering.
In the recommendation related to biblical marriage, the State Board agreed with the March 16 decision by Madison Baptist Association to disfellowship Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, Huntsville.
Weatherly Heights Baptist Pastor David Freeman has repeatedly expressed his support of “adult, loving, monogamous same-sex relationships,” and Ellin Jimmerson — the church’s unpaid minister to the community — expressed her agreement when she officiated Huntsville’s first same-sex wedding Feb. 9.
With the State Board’s vote, members of the church will not be allowed to serve on boards nor have seated messengers at conventions. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee also is expected to make a similar recommendation June 15.
The State Board also voted to recommend to messengers that they authorize Alabama’s executive committee to serve as representatives of the convention in declaring when a church is no longer in like-minded fellowship and friendly cooperation with the state convention.
A third recommendation requests the convention to give authorization for the executive committee to serve as the bylaws review committee of the state convention.
The missions offering recommendation requests combining the Kathleen Mallory Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Missions Offering with the Disaster Relief (DR) Missions Offering and rebranding them to be the Myers/Mallory State Missions Offering. Myers is for Dr. Martha Myers, Alabama Baptist and international missionary murdered for her witness in 2002. Mallory was the first paid Alabama WMU executive director and also served as national WMU executive director.
The offering would go first to Alabama WMU ($550,000), then to DR ($200,000) and anything above those amounts would be divided among missions partnerships and church planting/church revitalization.
Other recommendations approved the 2014 audit and financial assistance for two Baptist associations.
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