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Merritt re-elected SBC president, Litton, Pinckney vice presidents

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–James G. Merritt, senior pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church, Snellville, was elected without opposition for a second one-year term to the Southern Baptist Convention presidency during the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans June 12-13.

In nominating Merritt, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Theological Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Southern Baptists have been blessed in recent years by a generation of leaders who have demonstrated the courage and determination necessary to leading a “great denomination.”

“[James Merritt] is a dear friend and a friend to all Southern Baptists,” Mohler said. “He is a man of integrity and character.”

Merritt is the third-youngest SBC president and the first baby boomer elected to the SBC presidency. A Georgia native, Merritt has been pastor of the 12,000-member suburban Atlanta church since 1985. During his tenure the congregation has baptized nearly 8,500. The church gives 5 percent of its undesignated giving to the Cooperative Program. CP is the SBC’s unified channel for missions and ministry support.

“Pray for me to be a man of wisdom and of courage and of purity,” Merritt said immediately after his election. “I am not here to be served but to serve you.”

Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist Church in North Mobile, Ala., was elected first vice president. In nominating Litton, Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said Litton is a “man committed to the Bible.”

Also nominated for the position was Ted Stone, a member of Grace Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., and a leading advocate against substance abuse, who received 636 votes. Stone was nominated by Ralph Pulley, a member of First Baptist Church in Dallas.

T.C. Pinckney, a layman from Good News Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., was elected second vice president without opposition after his nomination by Danny Forshee, Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va. Pinckney is a member of the SBC Committee on the Order of Business and is the editor of the Baptist Banner.

John Yeats, editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, was re-elected without opposition to a fifth term as recording secretary in the morning session of the June 13 SBC session.

Yeats was nominated by Ted Kersh, pastor of Village Baptist Church, Oklahoma City.

Lee Porter, a retired pastor and denomination employee from Georgia, was elected to his 25th term as registration secretary with 1,717 votes or 64 percent of the messenger vote. He was nominated by Robert Steele, pastor of The Church at Grace Hill in Meansville, Ga.

Also nominated for the position of recording secretary was Jim Wells, a member of the SBC Executive Committee and director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Highlandville, Mo. He received 950 votes or 35.9 percent of the messenger vote.

In other election news, the new officers for the 2002 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference are: president, Ken Whitten, Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa, Fla.; vice president, Michael Claunch, First Baptist Church, Slidell, La.; and secretary, Charles West, First Baptist Church, Bethalto, Ill.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan