Baptist Convention cuts ties with Mercer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Baptist Convention cuts ties with Mercer

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November 16, 2006

Valdosta - Almost two centuries ago, the Georgia Baptist Convention teamed up with Mercer University in Macon to instill religious and moral values in students.

But Convention leaders say that the University has increasingly become more liberal and that's caused rift in their relationship.  "We felt like the college had come through the years, failed to represent who we were and who we are," says Wayne Robinson, a pastor at Morningside Baptist Church and the chairman for the convention's administrative committee.

And when a gay student group held a National Coming Out Day program on Campus, they say it was the straw that broke the camels back.

This week the convention, made of 3600 churches statewide, voted to severe all ties with the college.  "This year with Mercer, they voted by raised ballots.  There may have been someone opposing but it was 99 percent." 

In a written statement, William Underwood, the President of Mercer University, said "We appreciate the positive and productive 173 year relationship we shared with the Georgia Baptist Convention.  Mercer remains committed to its historical Baptists roots and continues to have close ties with Baptists and Baptist Churches throughout Georgia, the nation, and the world."

With the convention contributing almost four million to the university each year, the school will have to use those ties to make up for this loss in funds.  "I think they will always have some alliances within Baptist work for those who feel sympathetic towards what they represent.  I'm sure they'll give to that cause."

The Georgia Baptist Convention will continue to provide 3.5 million dollars in Scholarship funds until 2007.

The convention still has ties with Shorter College in Rome, Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, and Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon.