October 4, 2007 Publishing Good News since 1884 Volume 124 Number 235

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Offering name honors John, Clyde Maguire


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JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—When John Maguire first arrived as the sixth executive secretary-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, he began referring to the state as “Favored Florida.” And under his leadership, Florida Baptists found favor with God by developing a Great Commission attitude.

Maguire urged Florida Baptists to reach the mission field in their own state, especially migrants, farm workers, winter tourists, Indians and African Americans.

“This is the greatest mission field anywhere in the United States,” he would later say. “And unless Florida arises to the occasion of reaching these people, we are going backwards, instead of forward.” His words continue to have meaning today.

His wife, Clyde Maguire, a historian, prayer warrior and author, also served the mission causes among Florida Baptists, mentoring and motivating Baptist women to assume places of leadership and embrace the power of prayer.

A passion for God’s mission and a passion for God’s people characterized the visionary leadership the Maguires provided to Florida Baptists. Under his leadership Florida Baptist experienced unparalleled growth. During his 23-year tenure—from 1945-67—between 30 and 40 new churches were established each year. The number of cooperating churches in the convention increased to 1,426 from 826. Church membership grew to more than 600,000 from 184,140 and Cooperative Program giving increased to $3.7 million from $422,123.

A goal of John Maguire was for every church to participate in the Florida mission field. When Maguire assumed his leadership post, one-fourth of the 826 Florida Baptist churches gave nothing to any mission causes. Before he retired, every church was giving something to the missions.