DALLAS (BP) — This year’s Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Resolutions may be “one of the most ethnically diverse committees in the history of the SBC,” convention president Steve Gaines said in a statement announcing the ethnic breakdown of his presidential appointments.
The Committee on Committees and the tellers each include 16 percent non-Anglo members, said Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. The Credentials Committee includes a lower percentage of non-Anglos (4 percent) because Gaines tapped for the other three groups most of the non-Anglos who were recommended to him and willing to serve, he said.
“From the beginning, including a maximum percentage of ethnic diversity on the various committees we have appointed has been a major priority and goal in the nominations made under my leadership,” Gaines said in his statement, which was released to Baptist Press May 9.
Of the Resolutions Committee’s 10 members, four are African American, four Anglo, one Hispanic and one Asian. Two members are female. The committee is tasked by SBC Bylaw 20 with preparing and submitting resolutions to the convention and recommending them for adoption.
“I am grateful for the ethnic diversity we have on the Resolutions Committee,” Gaines said. “It is predominantly non-Anglo and is probably one of the most ethnically diverse committees in the history of the SBC.”
Of the Committee on Committees’ 68 members, 11 are non-Anglo. Six members are female. According to SBC Bylaw 15, the Committee on Committees nominates to the convention the Committee on Nominations, which in turn nominates the members of boards, commissions and committees.
To appoint the Committee on Committees, Gaines said, “we received recommendations from across the convention, nominations sent to us by state convention executives and also those sent to us by key church leaders across the SBC. When we compiled all of those recommendations, we received approximately 200 names, 25 percent of which were non-Anglos.
“We had 68 openings to fill,” he said. “Many that we asked declined because they did not plan to attend the convention meeting. Many others who plan to attend the convention meeting simply did not want to serve. That resulted in reducing our original percentage of 25 percent non-Anglos to the current percentage of 16.2 percent on the Committee on Committees.”
The percentage of non-Anglos serving as tellers and on the Credentials Committee is lower than Gaines had hoped, he said, “because we used most of our recommendations of non-Anglo messengers on the Resolutions Committee and on the Committee on Committees.”
Four of 25 tellers are non-Anglo and five are female. One of 27 Credentials Committee members is non-Anglo and two are female.
Tellers tabulate votes under the supervision of the registration secretary, according to Bylaw 10. The Credentials Committee is charged by Bylaw 8 with ruling “upon any questions which may arise in registration concerning the credentials of messengers.”
“As president of the SBC,” Gaines said, “I have worked diligently to continue expanding ethnic involvement in our convention, and I’m certain my successors will do likewise.”