SARALAND, Ala. (BP) – Unify Project will announce in a Feb. 9 webcast plans for 40 days of prayer for racial unity in the Southern Baptist Convention, project co-chairman Fred Luter told Baptist Press.
The webcast, featuring Luter, Unify Project co-chairman Ed Litton and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Brent Leatherwood, will update viewers on the project’s work with pastors and church leaders in pursuing racial reconciliation within the SBC and within local communities.
“The goal of the webcast is to remind Southern Baptists of the ongoing importance of racial unity among each other in the SBC. We did not want to wait until our Convention in June to continue this vital conversation,” said Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, the host city of the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting. Luter is the lone African American pastor to have served as SBC president, from 2012-2014.
“We will also share about our plan to have 40 Days of Prayer for Reconciliation for our Convention,” Luter said. “We want to inform Southern Baptists of where they can find more information about the Unify Project on social media and our plans to promote racial reconciliation throughout the year.”
The Unify Project, a Gospel-centered, ethnically diverse racial reconciliation ministry designed to mobilize Southern Baptist pastors and leaders in unifying their communities, launched in November. It has an ethnically diverse steering committee and draws on wisdom from noted pastor and author Tony Evans, who helped announce the initiative at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
Navigating challenging conversations about race, the SBC’s recent work toward racial unity, fostering unity within congregations, and tips on the SBC’s path forward in achieving racial reconciliation are among topics the webcast will explore, according to the webcast’s promotion.
Leatherwood said he’s thrilled to have the conversation with Luter and Litton.
“They have a heart for pursuing racial unity and that is the focus of the Unify Project. This initiative aligns so well with our Convention, which has repeatedly expressed its desire to foster a culture of racial reconciliation across our churches and our communities,” Leatherwood told Baptist Press. “It is our hope that this event will be one more resource for providing wise counsel and practical strategies about racial reconciliation that pastors, ministers, and leaders can use in any context.”
The project incorporates a three-step process to racial reconciliation developed by The Urban Alternative ministry Evans leads, and also draws from The Pledge Group, which Litton helped launch with an ecumenical Christian group of pastors and leaders in Mobile after the murder of George Floyd.
Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala., served as SBC president 2021-2022.
Registration for the free webcast, airing Feb. 9 at 2 p.m., is available here.