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SBC elects officers from both coasts & Midwest
Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004
By Don Beehler

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Officers who hail from Florida, California and Missouri were elected as the 2004-05 officers of Southern Baptist Convention during the SBC's June 15-16 annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., was elected SBC president in a 3,997-1,020 ballot over Al Jarrell, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Merry Hill, N.C.

Welch has been pastor of the Daytona Beach church since 1974 and is the co-creator of the FAITH/Sunday School Evangelism Strategy widely used in Southern Baptist churches. He is a former president of the Florida Baptist Convention and a former SBC vice president.

A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Welch is known for his "God and Country" speaking engagements and his support of pro-life ministries. He is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a native of Fort Payne, Ala.

Welch's election marked the first two-nominee presidential ballot since the 1994 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., when Jim Henry, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando was elected over Alabama pastor Fred Wolfe.

In other elections at the Indianapolis convention:

Gerald Davidson, pastor of the St. Louis-area First Baptist Church in Arnold and a past president of the Missouri Baptist Convention, was unopposed as SBC first vice president.

David Young Hwan Gill, pastor of Concord Korean Baptist Church in Martinez, Calif., and president of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in North America, was elected second vice president in a runoff with Mark Hearn, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis and a past first vice president of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. Gill also is the current first vice president of the California Southern Baptist Congregation.

A third nominee on the initial SBC second vice presidential ballot was Ohio pastor John Hays, pastor of the Columbus-area Jersey Baptist Church and a former president of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.

John L. Yeats, editor of the Baptist Messenger, the weekly newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, was elected to another term as recording secretary. He was unopposed. Yeats was first elected to the position in 1997.

James H. (Jim) Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Ozark, Mo., was re-elected registration secretary. He was first election to the position in 2002.

Messengers also approved the recommendation of Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., to deliver next year's convention sermon. The Committee on Order of Business also recommended as alternate Terry Fox, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan. The convention's music director will be Buster Pray, associate pastor of worship ministries at First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark.

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