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Denominational Servants plan ‘kindred spirits’ gathering

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–About 200 African Americans serve in associations, state/regional conventions and denominational entities within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Their Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network will hold its annual meeting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at Berean Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., prior to the June 21-22 SBC annual meeting.

“We are looking forward to our time together,” said Rosevelt Morris, network president and director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s office of prayer and spiritual awakening. “It is always a great fellowship among the servant leaders in our denomination.”

The network was established in 1997 to mentor and encourage denominational servants. Sid Smith, director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s African American division, is the network’s executive director. He has announced his retirement later this year from both positions.

“The Denominational Servants Network helps facilitates a kindred spirit through shared experiences about the Kingdom of God in our work from various parts of the country,” Morris said. “This time together affords the opportunity to strengthen each other through prayer, worship, ministry and fellowship as we strive to be unified in God’s Kingdom.”

The third volume of The Journal of African American Southern Baptist History is expected to be released at the meeting. Smith and Roy Cotton, DFW Metroplex regional consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ church-starting center, co-chair the history project.

In addition to Morris’ presidential remarks, the network’s program will include addresses by Smith, Cotton and Andre Punch, church growth and black church consultant in the BGCT’s Bible study/discipleship center.

Smith is slated to speak on “The Southern Baptist Odyssey of a Texan;” Cotton on “An interview with Rev. Eugene Florence,” a 101-year-old minister in Fort Worth, Texas, who preaches regularly, drives a late-model automobile and enjoys working in his vegetable garden; and Punch, “Milestones of Texas Black Southern Baptist History.”

The network’s business session will include the election of officers for the coming year and the presentation of the network’s Kennedy-Boyce Award.

In addition to Morris, the network’s 2004-05 officers include Dennis Mitchell, director of the church planting team at NAMB, vice president; Ken Ellis, chaplaincy evangelism associate at NAMB, secretary; and Maxie Miller, coordinator for African American church planting for the Florida Baptist Convention, treasurer.

Nashville’s Berean Baptist Church, where Robert Stoutt is pastor, is located at 4825 Fairmeade Court.