Reports of progress and positive occurrences highlighted the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Board of Directors meeting, May 16.  Board members heard updates on construction at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Centers and with Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM), and representatives of BGCO affiliates and ministry committees shared how God is blessing the work of Oklahoma Baptists.

///Falls Creek to introduce Centennial Prayer Garden

Anthony L. Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, gave an update regarding the construction of the Centennial Prayer Garden at Falls Creek. The new feature is currently under construction and is located near the familiar three crosses on a hill at Falls Creek.

The Centennial Prayer Garden will be enclosed by a natural-rock stone wall feature, as well as numerous seating arrangements where individuals and groups may come to pray.

“We are not doing away with or minimizing the existing prayer garden, yet this one is going to be much more accessible. You are going to be able to view the camp and have a peaceful, picturesque setting in which to pray,” he said.

In April, at the Women’s and Men’s retreats at Falls Creek, women and men gave a combined $36,438 toward the Centennial Prayer Garden. According to Jordan, an offering will be taken at the Falls Creek 100th Anniversary Homecoming service on Sept. 3 to go toward the Prayer Garden, which is expected to be completed in time for the summer weeks of Falls Creek.

///Falls Creek to finish Centennial Plaza

During the September 2016 meeting of the BGCO Board of Directors, board members approved the remodel of the cafeteria at Falls Creek and construction of a Falls Creek Centennial Plaza.

Now in time for the summer 2017 season of camp, Falls Creek will have completed the construction project and introduce the Centennial Plaza to camp-goers.

The Centennial Plaza is located at the heart of the campgrounds across from the Mathena Family Event Center and will feature beautiful landscaping, Pergola and sitting areas.

The former cafeteria has been transformed into the 1917 Café and gift shop. Icees and ice cream will be served through multiple windows in the building. The previous gift shop has been renovated into restroom facilities.

///Building and Baptist Collegiate Ministries

Jordan gave an update on the BCM properties at the University of Oklahoma (OU), Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU).

Board members voted to approve a 60-year ground lease for a parking lot located adjacent to the future BCM building, 1203 Elm Ave. in Norman. A capital campaign for the OU building project is underway, with a goal of raising approximately $6.27 million.

To date, $1.75 million in cash and pledges have been given toward the OU BCM capital campaign, according to Jordan. In addition to hearing an update about the building campaign, board members saw architectural renderings of the new property, which is located near dormitories at OU.

“This site could not be a better, more strategic ministry site for us to be on campus,” said Jordan.

Regarding OSU and SEOSU, Jordan said the future BCM buildings have been designed, and fundraising campaigns would soon begin. The building campaign at OSU has a fundraising goal of $5.15 million, with $1.867 million in cash and pledges already received, while the SEOSU capital campaign has a goal of $750,000, with cash and pledges of $250,000.

For more information, or to become involved in one of the BCM capital campaigns, contact Marty Harkey at or 405/942-3800.

///Great work due to financial overage

Jordan gave an update about special projects the BGCO was able to do as a result of a financial overage experienced in 2016. Jordan reported how the surplus was distributed among ministries and affiliates. One benefit was scholarships offered to pastors who will participate in partnership mission vision trips.

Another benefit, Jordan announced, involves three OBU students who will be helping “Smaller in Attendance” churches this summer as part of an evangelism team. Cody Tooley, Erica Reed and Graeson Griffin will spend eight weeks doing evangelistic outreach and working children and youth events that will provide opportunities to share the Gospel.

“These young people have been trained by our staff,” Jordan said. “It’s just exciting, knowing they’ve had someone like Mike Napier (BGCO evangelism specialist) spend time with them and talk with them about how to use evangelism tools in sharing the Gospel.

“Because of your decision,” Jordan said to the board, “there’s going to be many who are going to come to Christ this summer in these smaller churches.”

///Recommendations approved

Board members approved several recommendations, including the following:

• Action was ratified taken by The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma (BFO) to set up 25:21, LLC in order to invest in certain real estate properties and other types of investments.

• Ramon Guzman, pastor of Oklahoma City, Iglesia Lavilla, was elected to complete the two-year unexpired term of Floyd McKee, pastor of Oklahoma City, Rancho Village on the BGCO board. Chris Fields, pastor of Clinton, First, was elected to complete the three-year unexpired term of Pete Petree, former youth pastor at Weatherford, First, who is now staff and recreation manager at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, on the BGCO board.

• Lee Roland, children’s minister at Oklahoma City, Cherokee Hills, was elected to Oklahoma Baptist University’s board to complete the one-year unexpired term of Richard Stilwell, former pastor of Walters, First, who is now serves as president of Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International.

• Two approved recommendations included bylaw revisions for both Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) and Baptist Village Communities (BVC).

• Registration fee increase was approved for CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp from $140 to $150 per session beginning in the summer of 2018. This marks the first price increase in 10 years.

• The BGCO Salary Administration Plan was approved.

///Haskins recognized

Jan Haskins has served the BGCO for 20 years, 11 years as administrative assistant in the executive office, and her retirement in August was announced to the board. She recently married Bob Haskins, former BGCO associate executive director.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to this faithful and excellent servant,” Jordan said, noting her responsibilities include many board meeting duties.

Board members gave Haskins a standing ovation when Jordan presented her a bouquet of flowers.

///Other Highlights

In his address, Jordan thanked Oklahoma Baptists who responded to Oklahoma State House Bill 2347 which threatened to cap itemized deductions including charitable contributions to ministries and non-profit organizations.

Representatives from all four BGCO affiliates each gave reports, including Robert Kellogg, BFO president, a video report by Bill Pierce, BVC president, Stan Norman, OBU provost, and Tony Kennedy, advisor to OBHC president.

The next BGCO board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12 at the Baptist Building.