E-Board says farewell to Whittaker, approves new church affiliations

Published Feb 23, 2017

FRESNO — The California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board bid farewell to its retiring executive director, set a California Mission Offering goal for 2017 and approved eight new churches for membership, during its winter meeting Jan. 25-27.

Fermín A. Whittaker was honored throughout the meeting for his 22 years of service as executive director. At a dinner Jan. 26, several employees and Board members paid tribute to Whittaker and his wife, Carmen. The Executive Board gifted Whittaker his 2014 Toyota Avalon and presented Carmen with a bouquet and cash gift for her years of ministry alongside her husband.

In 2016 at the CSBC annual meeting in West Sacramento, the Executive Board bestowed the honorary title of executive director emeritus on Whittaker and gave him an annual travel allowance for conducting emeritus business. At that time, the Board also presented the Whittakers with a cash gift to cover expenses in relocating their home from Fresno to Menifee, where they retired.

Whittaker’s last day as executive director was Feb. 28. He is the longest-tenured of the seven executives who have served the organization in its nearly 77-year history. Until a new executive is presented and voted on by the Board, CSBC’s associate executive director Mike McCullough will assume the responsibilities of the office as outlined in CSBC Executive Board bylaws.

Also during their meeting Board members approved a $375,000 California Mission Offering goal for 2017. In 2016, CMO gifts (unaudited figures) totaled $366,837, or 85.3 percent of the goal. In 2015, California Baptists surpassed the $425,000 goal by giving $430,330, or 101.3 percent.

Jeff Lettow, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lemon Grove and chairman of the strategic ministries committee, which recommends the goal to the Board, said the committee lowered the goal to stay in line with receipts.

The Board also approved eight new churches for membership in the Convention: AuthentiCity Church in Rancho Santa Fe, Colton Community Church in Colton, First Baptist Church in San Bernardino, Gateway Christian Church in San Bruno, Grace Village Baptist Church in La Mirada, Grace Fellowship in Dos Palos, New Hope Baptist Church in Rancho Cordova and Iglesia Bautista por su Gracia in San Diego.

Board members elected Josh Daffern, lead pastor of MTVchurch in Columbus, MS, to a one-year term as a global trustee for California Baptist University. He will fill the vacancy of John Bolin, minister of worship and arts at First Baptist Church in Houston, who resigned to serve as a consultant and adjunct music lecturer for CBU’s school of music.

Also during the meeting, Board members heard a report on a motion referral from the 2016 CSBC annual meeting to remove Bayshore Community Church in Campbell from CSBC membership because of its leadership statement of accepting lesbian/gay/bisexual members and leaders. It was reported that CSBC records indicated that on July 11, 2016 Bayshore requested they be removed from the Convention roll. The report indicated that “as of that date this church ceased its membership with the Convention.”

No action was required by the Board to comply with the motion referral. The Board will report its findings and disposition of the referral to messengers at the 2017 CSBC annual meeting in Riverside.

In other business Board members

— approved committee membership for 2017;

— approved meeting dates for 2018-20;

— authorized the business services group leader to designate housing allowance amounts for qualified employees of the Executive Board;

— approved corporate officers for 2017;

— approved corporation officers to transact business for 2017; and

— approved CSBC legal counsel for 2017.

The executive committee of the Board also introduced an Executive Board bylaw amendment that would allow the elected CSBC president to be a member of the executive committee. For many years the CSBC president has served as a full member of the committee.

“This amendment would bring the Executive Board bylaws into line with at least two decades of practice,” according to background information presented to Board members. The bylaw amendment was introduced at the January meeting and will be voted on at the next meeting, scheduled for May 11-12 in Fresno.