TAMPA, Fla. (ABP) — Florida Baptists experienced a harmonious meeting and re-elected Tampa-area pastor Tommy Green to an uncontested second term as president during the annual Florida Baptist State Convention meeting Nov. 10-11 at the Sun Dome in Tampa.
The election represented the first time in recent history that a person was re-elected to a second term as president. The re-election was allowed by a 2002 revision in the convention's constitution that permits the outgoing president to serve a second consecutive term.
The meeting, under the theme “Pursue Christ,” drew 2,177 in attendance, including 1,260 messengers. Gary Crawford, State Board of Missions president, pointed to the state convention's missions giving as further evidence of the cooperative spirit of Florida Baptists. While other state conventions are experiencing budget deficits in 2003, said Crawford, Florida Baptists have given more than a half million dollars above budget.
The convention recognized John Sullivan's leadership as executive director-treasurer with a reception in honor of his 15th anniversary.
Green, pastor of the 5,000-member First Baptist Church of Brandon, east of Tampa, since 1996, was nominated as president by Tom Biles, director of missions for the Tampa Bay Baptist Association.
Biles commended the Brandon pastor for his leadership during the past year, noting that he had visited over 30 Florida Baptist churches, “representing us with experience, knowledge and grace.”
Green served as State Board of Missions president from 2000-2002 and has served on various associational and state convention committees. He serves as a trustee of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Messengers re-elected Richard Ledgister, pastor of Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church in Miami, to a second term as first vice president. His congregation is composed primarily of persons from the Caribbean Islands and South America. Ledgister is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.
Jacksonville businessman Jim Tatum, a member of First Baptist Church, was elected second vice president. Ron Hobbs, minister of music/business administrator of College Road Baptist Church in Ocala, was re-elected recording secretary. All of the elections were uncontested.
Messengers approved a $35 million Cooperative Program budget for 2004, representing a one quarter percent increase over the 2003 budget. The budget will send 40 percent of receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention.
No resolutions from the floor were presented during the meeting.
Several approved recommendations dealt with the trusteeship of the Florida Baptist Witness, increasing the number of board members from 9 to 15; and changing their titles from commissioners to directors.
The 2004 Florida Baptist State Convention will celebrate its 150th anniversary when it meets Nov. 8-9, 2004, in Jacksonville.