State execs, editors honor Chapman, Rankin

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (BP)--Joint resolutions by the Fellowship of State Executive Directors and the Association of State Baptist Papers honored the service of two Southern Baptist Convention leaders who have announced their intentions to retire this year.

In statements Feb. 10, the groups representing 42 state conventions honored Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, and Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board.

Chapman, who is set to retire Sept. 30, is completing 18 years of service in his leadership position and 50 years in the ministry, and Rankin will have served 17 years as president of the IMB and 40 years total with the entity when he steps down July 31.

The resolutions were presented during a dinner in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, celebrating the work and ministries of the churches of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.

Rankin and his wife Bobbye were recognized for their ministry in churches in two Texas communities -- Rankin served as an associate pastor in Fort Worth and as pastor in Sadler -- and as long term missionaries with the International Mission Board.

Tribute was given to Rankin for leading the IMB during a period of remarkable growth in the number of missionaries and in the number of previously unreached people groups who are now engaged by Southern Baptists.

When Rankin was elected IMB president in 1993, nearly 4,000 missionaries were deployed in 142 countries. Last year more than 5,500 IMB workers engaged 101 new people groups for a total of 1,190.

The resolution also noted Rankin's service with the IMB as general evangelist in East Java and Surabaya, Indonesia; associate area director for South and Southeast Asia; administrator for SBC mission work in India; area director for Southern Asia and the Pacific; and expressed gratitude for his "excellent service to the International Mission Board."

Rankin was unable to attend because of schedule conflicts.

Chapman and wife Jodi were thanked for their service in ministry together, and Chapman was honored for his pastorates in Rogers, Texas, Waco, Texas, Albuquerque, N.M., and Wichita Falls, Texas.

The statement also recognized Chapman's leadership as SBC president and president of the Executive Committee during a span of time when the convention settled its consensus theological convictions with the passage of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000; streamlined SBC entities through the Covenant for a New Century; took important steps in racial reconciliation; and initiated "an invigorated emphasis on the Cooperative Program and stewardship, and a focus on healthy church growth through the Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative." The two groups thanked Chapman for "his excellent service to Southern Baptists."

Chapman shared his appreciation for the recognition and thanked God for "the privileges that we've had to serve Him and to serve Southern Baptists."

"We give Him all the glory, and we thank Him for the fellowship and the relationships that we've been able to build through the years," Chapman said.

"We have great love for you, and pray that as you continue to serve the Lord in various ways, that He will enrich your lives and bless you and that it will all be to His glory."

Will Hall is executive editor of Baptist Press.

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