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EC search committee elects officers, requests prayer

NASHVILLE (BP) — The presidential search committee elected yesterday (April 17) to nominate the next chief executive of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee used its first meeting to select officers and begin laying groundwork in prayer to receive recommendations.

“In a few weeks we will be releasing an email address through which we will be receiving recommendations,” said search committee chairman Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas. “In the meantime, we will be gathering information and putting together a profile of what we feel like we are looking for.”

Carol Yarber, a retired medical administrator from Athens, Texas, was elected secretary at the search committee’s April 17 meeting, which convened immediately following a special called EC meeting in Nashville. The search committee “may elect a vice chairman at a later meeting,” Swofford said in a statement released to Baptist Press.

The six-member committee, elected from a field of 18 nominees, will be joined in an ex officio capacity by the next EC chairman when he or she is elected in June, as stipulated by EC bylaws. The new EC chair will be a voting member of the search committee.

Current EC chairman Stephen Rummage was elected to the search committee and therefore is not serving in an ex officio capacity. He will continue serving on the search committee when his term as EC chairman ends.

“I’m excited about the committee that was elected, and I commend the Executive Committee for their choices,” Swofford said. “As has already been reported, the committee is marked by racial and gender diversity as well as a mixture of clergy and laypeople. I also think it is worth noting that they are from all over our convention — from Florida to California, and from Texas to Illinois. Add to that the varied ages and background experiences and you have a well-rounded committee.

“We have all agreed to approach this responsibility with no agenda, simply and diligently trying to find the best person for the hour to fill this critical position for these challenging times,” Swofford said. “We covet the prayers of all Southern Baptists. On behalf of the entire committee, I want to thank the many of you who have already committed to pray for us in this process.”

Other members of the search committee are:

— Joe Knott, an attorney from Raleigh, N.C.

— Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, Ill.

— Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.

— Rolland Slade, pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif.