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Eugene Gibson Sr., who died in ’98, receives 1999 Black Heritage Awar

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–In life, Eugene Gibson Sr. offered “guidance, support and encouragement.” In death, he offers hope for Southern Baptist African American leadership, said Jay Wells, black church consultant from LifeWay Christian Resources.
Gibson posthumously received the 1999 Black Southern Baptist Heritage Award at Glorieta, N.M., during the Black Church Leadership Conference June 28-July 2. His wife, Mildred, and son, Eugene “Gino” Jr., accepted the award on behalf of Gibson, who was founding pastor of Chicago’s Mission of Faith Baptist Church, a position he held until his death on March 10, 1998, at the age of 62.
Wells said Gibson was a pioneer in the field of black church work with the position titles to prove it. Called the “Presidents’ President” by many who knew him, Gibson served as president of four groups at his death, including the Illinois Baptist State Association, the Southern Baptist African American Fellowship, the Fellowship of Southern Baptist State Presidents, and the Southern Baptist Ethnic Presidents Fellowship.
Before accepting a call into the ministry in 1970, Gibson had worked as a mortician and a data processing manager with Spiegel Inc. — the first African American to hold the job. Later he wrote the book, “Talk Your Walk: The Path to Black Church Growth.” He also served as a Sunday school contract consultant for LifeWay Christian Resources (then the Sunday School Board) and a field representative for the International Mission Board.
Accepting the award, Mildred Gibson said her husband “loved this type of conference,” referring to Black Church Leadership week. “When he would see someone he knew from afar, he would start thinking of a joke to tell him. And then he would be the one that laughed the loudest and the longest.”
She told the crowd attending the awards banquet if they didn’t know her husband “you missed knowing a great man, a gifted leader and you missed having a great friend.”
Five Southern Baptist Convention agencies — LifeWay Christian Resources, North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union and Annuity Board — sponsored Black Church Leadership Conference at LifeWay Conference Center Glorieta. More than 1,300 from 22 states attended the conference.