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African American pastors take steps to increase participation in SBC

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Citing a need for increased awareness within the denomination about African American Southern Baptists, pastors attending the African American Fellowship pastors’ meeting proposed and adopted a series of action steps, including changing the time of their meeting, to facilitate their goal.

In the meeting attended by about 50 pastors and facilitated by the fellowship’s president, Joseph Lyles, several actions were taken:

— changing the time of the annual fellowship meeting, which currently conflicts with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference.

Willie Jordan of Harvey, Ill., expressed a desire to see more African American pastors chosen to address the larger body of preachers. By changing the meeting to a later time, fellowship members also hope that more African American pastors would be able to attend.

— adopting a tiered plan of membership dues. Churches with up to 100 members would pay $200; 101-250 members, $250; 251-500 members, $300; 501-above, $350.

— publishing a semiannual newsletter to provide churches with information about fellowship news and activities.

James H. Davis of Birmingham, Ala., explained that the newsletter would include financial information related to the fellowship. He also reminded pastors about the fellowship’s Internet site, www.aafsbc.org, which contains links to other SBC entities. Davis explained that arrangements can be made to link churches to the site.

— increasing the fellowship president’s travel allotment to allow him to meet with SBC agency heads and participate in other fellowship-related events.

Following the financial report, which detailed expenditures for the 2000-2001 fiscal year, members voted to increase the budget from $15,150 to $20,000, with the increased funding being allocated to the president’s travel.

After approval of the 1999-2000 financial report and the 2000-2001 proposed budget, others items were discussed, including:

— the need for state fellowship presidents to encourage pastors to support the national organization.

— Roy Hopgood of Milwaukee noting the need to have a contact person in every state to communicate with pastors.

— that the election of new officers will be held at the June 2001 meeting in New Orleans.

Fellowship officers completing their current term of office for 2000-2001 are: president, Joseph W. Lyles, Maryland; first vice president, George O. McCalep, Georgia; second vice president, Elroy Barber, Florida; secretary, Frankie Harvey, Texas; and treasurer, Leon Johnson, Illinois. According to the fellowship’s constitution, election of the president is determined by the rotation of the first and second vice presidents. Under that provision, McCalep is slated to become fellowship president in June 2001.

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  • Olivia M. Cloud