MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (BP) — The 60th anniversary of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana was celebrated during the Oct. 8-9 annual meeting at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp with 160 messengers and 53 guests representing 80 churches across the state.

The SCBI became the 29th convention in the Southern Baptist Convention on Oct. 3, 1958. E. Harmon Moore, elected as the SCBI’s first executive secretary-treasurer, served 22 years in the position.

The SCBI today encompasses 420 churches and church plants from the convention’s initial 111 churches.

The convention began with the stated purposed to “establish, strengthen and inspire the churches in missionary, educational and benevolent enterprises.”

“Our 2018 annual meeting had a great spirit,” Steven McNeil, SCBI executive director, said. “We are focusing on ways to help our churches work better together and for us to choose to cooperate with each other as we seek to ‘Exalt Jesus, Encourage Pastors and Equip churches.’ We are pursuing steps where churches help churches, churches plant churches, pastors help other pastors. We know we are stronger together.”

This year’s meeting included messages from McNeil; convention president Bruce Reynolds, pastor of Old Town Hill Baptist Church in Muncie; and the annual sermon from Alan Scott, pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church in Evansville.

The annual meeting’s theme, “Exalting Jesus: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” was drawn from John 17:22-26, encompassing Jesus’ prayer for unity as He expressed His and the Father’s love for His disciples.

Messengers approved a 2019 budget of $3,879,000, a 3.15 percent decrease from the 2018 budget, which includes a decrease in the amount forwarded to SBC causes to 35 percent from the current 40 percent.

In the election of officers, Bobby Pell, pastor of NorthWoods Church, Evansville, is the convention’s new president. Randy Forsythe, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Portage, was elected as first vice president; Josh Goepfrich, pastor of Warsaw Baptist Church in Warsaw, second vice president; and Sara Burk, a member of Grace Baptist Church in Evansville, secretary.

Goepfrich, in the resolutions committee report, presenting a resolution in appreciation of Highland Lakes Baptist Camp for their hospitality and service during the 60th anniversary meeting.

The 2019 annual meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28-29 at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp, which opened its new 425-seat worship center last year. Highland Lakes is located in Martinsville, 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis.