Briefly noted

June 15, 2004

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth will not be allowed to exhibit at the Baptist General Convention of Texas meeting this fall—further fallout from the deteriorating relationship between the Texas convention and the Southern Baptist Convention. A new policy governing exhibits at the annual meeting emphasizes ministries related to and supportive of the BGCT, one of the few state Baptist conventions controlled by moderate Baptists. As a result, Southwestern and the five other SBC seminaries will not be welcome at the November gathering in San Antonio. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern, said he was “dumbfounded” by the decision. Leaders of the BGCT said theological changes in the SBC justify the move.

The Web site of Grace Cathedral, a prominent Episcopal institution in San Francisco, has been honored with a “Webby”—a mark of distinction considered one of the “Oscars of the Web.” The Internet site won the spirituality category in the annual competition judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. “When we get more than 60,000 visits to our site each month, we know how important this virtual doorway into Grace Cathedral is for many people,” said Canon Rick Johnson, the Web site’s executive director. He said the award was confirmation that the Episcopal Church needed to adapt and utilize new media.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has laid off 28 people and cut nine vacant positions in an effort to trim its two-year budget by $4.6 million. The church’s General Assembly Council, which acts as a board of directors, made the cuts May 7 as part of a larger effort to streamline management and respond to shifts in giving from local congregations. In the past two years, the denomination has eliminated at least 122 positions at its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. Similar cuts have been made by other mainline Protestant churches. The revised budget, after the cuts, stands at $114.4 million. Most of the 28 people who lost their jobs ended their work by May 6. The cuts were spread among departments overseeing congregational ministries, national projects, missions support and the office of John Detterick, the director of the General Assembly Council.

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