—For the first time in its 151-year history, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has two officially recognized associations from a single state. On September 16, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia voted to break away from the 173-year-old Baptist General Association of Virginia. Although conservatives have dominated the national convention in recent years, moderates have kept control of the Virginia affiliate. Conservatives had been frustrated that the state body had not taken action against homosexuality and abortion. In addition, the Baptist General Association of Virginia allows congregations to channel funds to the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

—Daniel Vestal, 51, pastor of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, was elected September 26 as the coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He will succeed Cecil Sherman, who is retiring December 1 after leading the moderate sbc group for its first five years (CT, Aug. 12, 1996, p. 59).

Larry Lewis, who has been president of the SBC Home Mission Board for nearly a decade, is resigning effective January 1 to work with Mission America. Lewis, 61, will remain on the SBC payroll as national facilitator for Mission America's "Celebrate Jesus 2000," an interdenominational evangelism effort. The Home Mission Board has 4,857 missionaries.

—In an October 1 meeting, the Muskegon Classis of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) voted 27 to 23 to grant a peaceful separation to Richard Rhem and his 2,800-member Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan (CT, Oct. 7, 1996). Details of a financial settlement between the church and the RCA synod and the fate of 115 members who want to remain a part of the denomination still must be worked ...

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