CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) -- A 1,000-member suburban Kansas City church was ousted from the yearly meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention because it left the national Southern Baptist Convention for becoming too conservative.
The meeting also voted to shut off more $2 million earmarked for five Baptist agencies that defied the state body's conservative leadership by altering bylaws and electing their own boards to gain autonomy.
Representatives elected rival board members for the agencies and state leaders threatened legal action if they are refused seating.
The money will go into escrow until the state body regains control over board appointments.
Agencies involved are the Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist College, Missouri Baptist Home network, Windermere Conference Center and Word & Way newspaper.
The congregational ouster involved Second Baptist Church in Liberty, part of the state body since 1843.
Second Baptist member David Fulks said nothing in state membership rules requires congregations to join the national body. ''It does not have to say that,'' responded the Rev. David Tolliver, credentials chairman. ''It is how we interpret it.''
At least five other Missouri Baptist congregations in the state have quit the national denomination.
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Missouri Baptist Convention: http://www.mobaptist.org
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