NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — An African American Advisory Council has been created to communicate the perspectives of black churches and their leaders to Southern Baptist Convention entity leaders, Executive Committee President Frank S. Page has announced.
“Part of the work of the Executive Committee is … to provide quality connections and relationships,” Page said in a statement to SBC LIFE, journal of the Executive Committee. “I am very excited about working with the members of this council, which includes Dr. Ken Weathersby who is helping with all of our ethnic groups in raising awareness and involvement of our ethnic brothers and sisters in Cooperative Program promotion and development.”
Weathersby is the North American Mission Board’s presidential ambassador for ethnic church relations.
The African American Advisory Council will be a three-year initiative (2012-2015) established by Page, as EC president, and Kevin Ezell, as NAMB president, in an ongoing effort, as SBC LIFE described it, “to engage the many faces of the SBC in meaningful dialogue about working together as full and equal partners in the harvest.”
Page first noted the council’s formation in addressing the Executive Committee’s Cooperative Program Subcommittee on Feb. 20. Last September, Page announced the creation of a Hispanic Advisory Council, which held its inaugural meeting in early February in Fort Worth, Texas. Other ethnically-oriented advisory groups may be named as deemed appropriate.
Among the African American Advisory Council’s chief aims is to help the EC, NAMB and other SBC entity heads understand the perspectives that African American Southern Baptists bring to the common task of reaching the United States and the nations with the Gospel.
“The council is representative of the regions of the country and reflects the cultural diversity of the African American population,” SBC LIFE reported. “Its purpose is consultation, communication and cooperation. It will neither launch nor execute ministries. It will provide information, insight and counsel through NAMB and EC staff to the broader Southern Baptist community relative to the special needs and concerns of African American churches and church leaders in the Southern Baptist family of churches.”
The council will use surveys, phone conferences, Internet communication, personal meetings and other means to gather and communicate information from consultative African American groups and leaders. Among those with whom it will communicate are key African American pastors and laymen; the National African American Fellowship, SBC; the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network; the Black Church Leadership Network; and African American leaders serving in elected roles in state Baptist conventions and on state Baptist convention staffs.
“… [T]he council will enable the presidents and staff of the EC and NAMB to maintain vital contact with the African American Baptist family through participation in strategic meetings and personal conferences,” SBC LIFE reported. “One of the council’s goals is more fully to incorporate African American Baptist churches and church leaders into the total fabric of Southern Baptist life and ministry.”
The council will be chaired by K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa.
Also serving on the council, in addition to Ken Weatersby, will be:
Roscoe Belton of Middlebelt Baptist Church, Inkster, Mich.
Chandra Bennett, Greater Grace Temple Community Church, Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Croston, East End Baptist Church, Suffolk, Va.
James Dixon, El Bethel Baptist Church, Fort Washington, Md.
Leroy Fountain, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Lithonia, Ga.
Mark Hammond, Village Baptist Church, Norwalk, Calif.
Kim Hardy, Connections Community Church, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Keith Jefferson, Parkway Baptist Church, Moseley, Va.
Dennis Mitchell, Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.
Marvin Parker, Broadview Baptist Church, Broadview, Ill.
Kevin Smith, Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.
Bucas Sterling III, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Terry Turner, Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, Mesquite, Texas.
Alton B. Vines, New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, Calif.
Frank Williams, Bronx Baptist Church, Bronx, N.Y.
Adapted from SBC LIFE, journal of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.