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Black Servants Network plans to reorganize


SAN ANTONIO (BP)–A reorganization of the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network is to be explained during its June 10 annual meeting in San Antonio.

“We’re looking forward to sharing with the constituency the details of the reorganization,” said Sid Smith, the network’s executive director. “We have not looked at (the organizational structure) in the last 10 to 11 years. As we continue to participate in Southern Baptist life we discover a new generation is now in power and some of the needs are different. We felt we could better serve the needs of the constituency by reorganizing.”

The network’s June 10 meeting will begin at 2 p.m. at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 963 SW 40th St. in San Antonio.

The program will include a dialogue on African American Southern Baptist history led by two Texas pastors, Harold Branch, retired pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, and Marvin Griffin, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin.

The network plans to dedicate the 2007 Journal of African American Southern Baptist History to four prominent African American Southern Baptists who died of illness during the last year: Milton Boyd, Joe Chaney, Jafes Haley and George McCalep Jr.

Boyd was director of the African American church development department for the Florida Baptist Convention. He had been treasurer of the network and at the time of his death was chairman of the network’s website committee.

Chaney, retired pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Long Beach, Calif., served as second vice president of the California Southern Baptist Convention.

Haley, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Las Vegas, served as second vice president of the Nevada Baptist Convention.

McCalep, pastor of Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga., was a former president of the National African American Fellowship.

“‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord,’ relates to the contribution of these fellow servants,” Smith said. “Their participation will be missed greatly.”

The topic of this year’s issue of the network’s journal is “A Variety of Black Southern Baptist Experience.”

“This edition of the journal is in order to show that we are many, but one,” Smith said. “There are a variety of blacks who work for the denomination. We have people at NAMB in several capacities. We have people at LifeWay in many capacities. We have seminary professors, college professors. We have people at GuideStone Financial Resources. We have people with the International Mission Board. We’re just trying to share that information by having people from those entities submitting articles to us.”

Several awards will be presented during the meeting in addition to the President’s Award, to be given to Dennis Mitchell of NAMB for his service as president this year.

The network’s highest honor, its Lifetime Achievement Award, will be presented to E.W. McCall Sr. of St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in La Puente, Calif. McCall has announced he is retiring in December.

The Kennedy-Boyce Award -– named for the pastors of the first two African American churches to join the Southern Baptist Convention in 1953 -– will be presented to Griffin, while the Hall of Servanthood Award will be presented to Branch.

Denominational leadership awards will be presented to Jerry Dailey, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio, and to Michael Bell, who last year was the first African American to be elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

A new slate of officers is to be elected at the network’s annual meeting. Current officers are Dennis Mitchell of NAMB, president; Ken Ellis of NAMB, vice president; Jeffrey Curtis of the California Southern Baptist Convention, secretary; Alma Surrency of the Florida Baptist Convention, treasurer; and Joshua Smith of the California Southern Baptist Convention, parliamentarian.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church will prepare a meal for the network; donations will be accepted to cover their expense. Macedonia also is the site of the first session of the annual meeting of the National African American Fellowship at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 10.
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