NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)The Southern Baptist Executive Committee has approved a recommendation to change the name of the Annuity Board and to permit the entity to serve evangelical ministry organizations outside the SBC.
The proposal initially was approved by Annuity Board trustees and then presented to Executive Committee members Sept. 23 at their meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The recommendations will be presented at the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis in June 2004.
If the proposal is approved by the convention, the Annuity Boards name will change to GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The name change recommendation requires official approval by messengers for two successive years, while the convention will vote on authorizing the board to do business as GuideStone Financial Resources for one year, pending a second affirmative vote at the annual meeting in Nashville in 2005.
An Annuity Board statement to Baptist Press described GuideStone as a composite word consisting of two words describing the boards goals: The Annuity Board intends to be a guide to walk alongside its participants throughout their lifetime, helping them enhance their financial security, while the word stone refers to the Annuity Boards enduring presence since its beginning more than 85 years ago.
"The Annuity Boards name has served us well, but it has been decades since our only retirement option was an annuity," George Tous van Nijkerk, chairman of the Annuity Board trustees, said in the statement to Baptist Press.
The amendment to the ministry assignment of the Annuity Board would include other evangelical organizations in addition to the churches and denominational entities it already serves.
Relief would still be exclusive to Southern Baptist ministers and denominational employees, but retirement plan programs, life and health coverage, personal investment programs and institutional investment services would be open to others who qualify.
Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins said the Annuity Board will use criteria similar to what the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources uses in determining which evangelical organizations will be eligible for partnership.
The guidelines also are written to ensure that the other evangelical organizations never become the majority of those served by the Annuity Board, Hawkins emphasized.
"Weve got it set up so that Southern Baptists will always have the super majority," he said. "[And] nobody will elect our board of trustees except the Southern Baptist Convention."
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