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Race relations summit speakers announced

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — Leading pastors from the National Baptist Convention USA and the Southern Baptist Convention — the nation’s two largest Baptist denominations — will gather for a Nov. 4 racial reconciliation celebration in Jackson, Miss.

The nonprofit racial reconciliation group Mission Mississippi will host the 22 pastors at “A National Conversation on Race in America” from 8:30-11 a.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex.

Joining Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd as a lead speaker will be Jerry Young, leader of the National Baptist Convention USA (NBC), the largest group of African American Baptists in the U.S. with as many as 7 million members.

Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, has shared his vision for racial reconciliation throughout his presidency.

“When I was elected president, I began praying for open doors. Through prayer gatherings, I began to see God bring down the walls that divide races and ethnicities,” Floyd said in an Oct. 19 blogpost. “Then, sadly through the tragedies of Ferguson and other cities in our nation, the burden and conviction became overwhelming.”

Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, also is a passionate proponent of racial reconciliation.

“I’m just praying that the church will someday stand up and declare we’re no longer to be satisfied with simply preaching the Gospel with our lips, but practicing the Gospel with our lives,” Young said in an interview with “Road in Between” Mississippi talk show host Tom Sikes at a racial reconciliation event in Meridian, Miss.

“The key is we’ve got to demonstrate the Gospel, not simply declare it with our lips, but to demonstrate it with our lives,” Young told Sikes. “The story of the Good Samaritan, beyond anything else in my mind, says that ultimately we’ve got to practice the Gospel. That’s the key. When we start practicing the Gospel, reconciliation will take place without question.”

Mission Mississippi has been working 22 years to speed racial reconciliation in Mississippi and nationally, according to its president, Neddie Winters.

“We’re excited about the opportunity God has given us, the favor He’s given us, the reputation He’s given us, to work with churches, corporations, businesses and community organizations,” Winters said on the Road in Between broadcast that featured Young. “Mission Mississippi is pushing folks to respond from a biblical — not from a black perspective, not from a white perspective, not from a liberal or conservative — but from a biblical mandate where God has commanded us to love those that hate us, to do good to those who do evil to us, pray for those that persecute us.”

National Baptist pastors

In addition to Young, NBC pastors confirmed to participate in the event, according to Mission Mississippi, are:

— Jesse Bottoms, vice president of the NBC Northeast Region and pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

— Matthew Canada, president of the NBC Moderator’s Auxiliary; pastor, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, Madison, Miss.

— C. Dennis Edwards, chairman of the NBC Sunday School Publishing Board; pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.

— Rogers Kirk, vice president, NBC Midwest Region; pastor, Third Missionary Baptist Church, Davenport, Iowa.

— Claybon Lea Jr., vice president, NBC Far West Region; pastor, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Fairfield, Calif.

— Calvin McKinney, NBC general secretary; pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, N.J.

— Clarence Moore, vice president, NBC Southeast Region; pastor, Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church, Augusta, Ga.

— Thomas Morris, NBC parliamentarian; pastor, Greater Hinds Street Missionary Baptist Church, Cleveland, Miss.

— John Reed Jr., vice president, NBC Western Region; pastor, Fairview Baptist Church, Oklahoma City.

— Ricky D. Turner, NBC treasurer; pastor, Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kan.

Southern Baptist pastors

Confirmed to participate in the event are:

— Marshall Blalock, senior pastor, First Baptist Church Charleston, Charleston, S.C.

— Felix Cabrera, director of Red 1:8 Church Planting Network; lead pastor, Iglesia Bautista Central, Oklahoma City.

— Kevin Smith, teaching pastor, Highview Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.

— Steve Gaines, senior pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn.

— Gene Henderson, Mississippi Baptist pastor and leader, Pinelake Church, Brandon.

— Paul Kim, Asian American relations consultant for the SBC; pastor emeritus, Antioch Baptist Church, Cambridge, Mass.

— Ed Litton, senior pastor, Redemption Church, North Mobile, Ala.

— Ted Traylor, senior pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.

— A.B. Vines, former president, National African American Fellowship of the SBC; senior pastor, New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, Calif.

— K. Marshall Williams, president, National African American Fellowship of the SBC; senior pastor, Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.

A National Conversation on Race in America also will feature an 11 a.m. gospel concert and an 11:30 a.m. luncheon at the convention complex.

Registration information is available at missionmississippi.net.