PIKEVILLE—Messengers to the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting Nov. 13 in Pikeville have approved dissolving the Covenant Agreement between the KBC and the University of the Cumberlands, effectively severing their formal ties and allowing the university to begin electing its own trustees.
This past summer, university officials approached KBC leaders and the Administrative Committee of the Mission Board to request the modification to the 1986 Covenant Agreement between the convention and university.
Cumberlands leaders requested the covenant change to be able to appoint alumni and friends to its Board of Trustees who are members of other Christians denominations and could provide expertise and resources for the university, said president Larry Cockrum.
The KBC’s Administrative Committee decided in August that “it wasn’t in the best interest to maintain a formal agreement with the university if the KBC had no voice in the selection of its trustees.” Currently, all trustees for the University of the Cumberlands are elected by the KBC.
“University of the Cumberlands is grateful to the KBC for our many years of shared ministry and for the generous support of Kentucky Baptists,” Cockrum said. “Cumberlands remains committed to fulfilling its mission as a Baptist institution encouraging intellectual and spiritual growth, leadership, and service through educational programs enriched with Christian values.”
As a show of appreciation and good will toward the KBC, Cumberlands will make a $1 million gift toward KBC church planting efforts. The university will also return nearly $350,000 in Cooperative Program funds received from Kentucky Baptist churches this fiscal year.
The KBC action breaks a relationship with the last remaining university supported through the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program budget. In 2005, Georgetown College asked to sever its covenant agreement with the convention so it could elect its own trustees, and Campbellsville University moved to create a self-perpetuating board and welcome non-Baptist trustees in 2014. (WR)