Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf Gather for Their 71st Annual Meeting

More than 130 people from 20 states, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico gathered for the 71st annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C., July 15-19. Photo submitted

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP) — The Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf (SBCD) gathered for their 71st annual meeting and elected a woman president for the third time in their history as they rallied around the theme “Good News 24/7” from Mark 16:15.

More than 130 people from 20 states, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico attended the meeting July 15-19 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C., and others followed special coverage on Facebook Live.

Anna Austin, a member of Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., was elected president. She told Baptist Press she is the third woman to be chosen for the position, following a hearing woman in 1952 and a deaf woman in 1976.

Austin said her role is to work with the group’s board of directors in planning the annual meeting and then to help facilitate the meeting.

“I am honored that I was elected and will do God’s will because everything that we do is for Him,” Austin said in written comments, adding she has served SBCD in various positions for more than seven years.

“SBCD is important to me because we need to keep spreading God’s words and teach others how to show love and grace to others,” Austin said.

Speakers at the annual meeting included Dirk Hill, immediate past president of SBCD and pastor of the Deaf Mission at First Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.; Corey Harrison, pastor of New Life Deaf Church in Clarksville, Tenn.; and Bo Sherrill, minister to the Deaf at Parkwood Baptist Church in Concord, N.C.

Workers from the International Mission Board (IMB)and North American Mission Board (NAMB) gave reports from their various places of service among the Deaf.

The SBCD approved a restructuring of its Executive Committee, its board of directors and other committees. “This motion was passed with some amendments,” Austin said. “We strongly believe it was time to restructure SBCD for the next century and to enhance our fellowship.”

The highlight of the meeting for Austin was “meeting new people, seeing the people I love working with again because that’s usually the only time we get to see them.”

“I love SBCD because we can see how much God has impacted their life or how He uses them to serve others,” she said.

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Source: Baptist Press