SBC DIGEST: SBC meeting makes $20M impact; Naylor receives Dodd award

2024 SBC annual meeting a $20+ million economic impact for Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Last week’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting and Pastors’ Conference was responsible for an estimated $20,169,855 economic impact on the host city. With 10,946 messengers representing 3,988 churches and 16,818 total attendees, this year’s gathering was the third largest since 2010.

The calculation was provided by Visit Indy’s Janelle Johnson, destination experience manager for the city’s tourism bureau. According to Johnson, the estimated economic impact is calculated based on dates, length of stay, attendance and other group demographics. It is generated from Visit Indy’s proprietary event economic impact calculator developed by Rockport Analytics.

“We have seen a renewed interest among Southern Baptists in the SBC annual meeting,” said Jonathan Howe, vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee. “Hotel demand before and after the convention dates continues to increase, and more families are making the annual meeting part of their summer vacationing. This trend bodes well for us as we work to secure future locations for the gathering.”

The SBC annual meeting and Pastors’ Conference is scheduled to return to Indianapolis in 2028.

Union University presents Naylor with Dodd Award

By Union University Staff

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) – Union University presented longtime Baptist medical missionary Rebekah Naylor with its M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award during a June 11 alumni dinner at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Indianapolis.

The Dodd Award is the highest denominational service award Union gives. It is named for the man who was a 1904 Union graduate, served as president of the SBC and was the father of today’s Cooperative Program, the method by which Southern Baptists pool their resources to fund their mission efforts.

The award, voted on by Union trustees, is given to a leader within the SBC who displays excellence and leadership in Southern Baptist life, as well as friendship and commitment to Union University. Past recipients include such leaders as Jimmy Draper, Adrian Rogers, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Steve Gaines, Paul Chitwood, Ben Mandrell, David S. Dockery and others.

“Dr. Naylor has been a faithful ambassador for Christ for decades, and her service to Southern Baptists on the mission field has inspired countless others to join her ranks,” said Ray Van Neste, Union’s vice president for university ministries. “She is the first woman to receive this prestigious award, and we are grateful for her many contributions to Southern Baptists over the decades.”

Naylor graduated from Baylor University in 1964 with a chemistry degree and completed her Doctor of Medicine from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1968. She was appointed by the SBC’s Foreign Mission Board, now International Mission Board (IMB),as a missionary to India in 1973. Arriving at the new Bangalore Baptist Hospital in early 1974, she launched a missionary career that included busy clinical practice, administrative responsibility and teaching.

In the 1990s she organized training programs in allied health disciplines, set up accredited residency training programs for doctors, initiated a training program for chaplains and established the Rebekah Ann Naylor Institute of Nursing in 1996. She retired from active IMB service in 2009. She joined the faculty at the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center after returning to the United States and retired as clinical associate professor of surgery.

In 2010, she began working as a global healthcare consultant with Baptist Global Response and in 2012 became the International Mission Board director of healthcare strategies. In 2023 Naylor retired as director and continues to be an ambassador for health strategies with the IMB.

Naylor continues to make frequent trips to India to participate in the ministry of Bangalore Baptist Hospital.

She was the featured speaker for Union’s W.D. Powell Missions Lecture series in 2023.

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