Looks like the Missouri Baptist Convention has some real problems. One of the sad parts in this whole story, is that the lawsuit is big news in the secular press. It also appears that Moran is one power hungry dude, he is already on the SBC executive committee, and now is trying to have himself appointed to the University committee in the state. As I recall he is one of the worst practicioners of the guilt by association crowd. What do you all think about one Baptist group trying to raise a cool million to sue another Baptist group? Seems to me that money could be spent more wisely on other endavors, especially since they are already 4 million in debt. the following artilce was from Saturdays St Louis Post Dispatch Missouri Baptist Convention seeks authority to borrow $1 million By PATRICIA RICE Post-Dispatch 11/01/2003 The Missouri Baptist Convention will ask members this week to put up some of its assets as collateral for a $1 million loan. At its three-day annual meeting downtown, officers will ask representatives - called messengers - from many of the state's 1,850 Southern Baptist churches to approve the loan to pay legal bills. Missouri has 797,700 Southern Baptists, according to the 2000 study of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. More than 176,000 Southern Baptists live in the St. Louis area, in Missouri and Illinois. The convention's legal expenses have been piling up since it went to court about two years ago to exert authority to approve boards of trustees for five Baptist groups: Missouri Baptist University in Creve Coeur; Missouri Baptist Home, which has three sites for the elderly across the state; Windemere Conference Center in Ozark, Mo.; and the Baptist Foundation and the Word and Way newspaper, both in Jefferson City. The dispute focuses on whether the state convention or the five institutions have the right to approve the boards of trustees. The convention is an organization of Baptist churches that supports Baptist missions, schools and pastors' education. Baptist churches are independent, with no bishop-like authority. At the meeting, Monday evening through Wednesday at the Millennium Hotel, leaders will ask for donations to the convention's legal fund. "That will allow the largest churches to step up to the plate and continue to support the (court) effort and will allow those churches who oppose going to court not to pay," said Roger Moran, of Winfield, research director of the six-member Missouri Baptist Layman's Association and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention's national executive committee. The Missouri Baptist Convention faces multiple financial challenges, including a $3 million shortfall last winter. At the annual meeting four years ago, a more conservative leadership that demanded greater influence on various Baptist organizations was elected. That fall, Moran, president of Moran Welding and Brooks Brothers Trailers of Winfield, circulated his layman's research group's endorsements of conservatives for Baptist state offices. His nominees have swept the elections ever since. "We'll be back (at the hotel) where we started in 1999, but it will be an uneventful meeting," Moran said. "The moderates don't come." Until his leadership group came to power, the university and the four agencies' trustees traditionally presented their board nominations at the annual meeting. All were routinely approved. In 2000, the convention leaders wanted to insert their own candidates to the boards. The convention's proposed trustees sometimes lacked financial, academic and legal experience that such boards require, said Kim Quinn, a Baptist Foundation vice president. For example, the convention leadership has nominated individuals lacking a college degree to the university board. Each of the five boards eventually rewrote their institutions' charters and made their boards responsible for trustee nominations. In turn, the Baptist state convention stopped funding the institutions. More than 100 churches now fund the institutions directly. Other churches formed a new state organization, the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, which also funds them. This week the Missouri Baptist Convention will vote on nominees for trustees for all five institutions. Its Baptist University nominees are not only for trustee seats that expire this fall, but also for six seats with unexpired terms, which would effectively fire six trustees. Among trustees with unexpired terms are university board chairman Bill Houk of Clinton, Mo., and Travis Brown of St. Louis, Beaumont High School principal. Moran is among the convention's nominees for the university board. Cole County Judge Tom Brown could rule on the first of the university's lawsuits as soon as mid-month. If the convention's current slate of nominees were allowed to be seated, all women and minorities on the university's board would be eliminated.