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SBC’s Merritt one of 6 chosen to meet with President Bush

WASHINGTON (BP)–James Merritt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church, Snellville, was one of six ministers invited to join President Bush for a closed-door meeting on Sept. 20.

Merritt was summoned to the White House during the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Merritt attended a noontime meeting at the White House with ministers from 30 other denominations. Following that meeting, President Bush invited Merritt and six other ministers into the Oval Office for a private discussion.

Merritt was unavailable for comment Sept. 21 and a White House spokesperson said transcripts of the meeting were not available.

The following is a list of participants in President Bush’s meeting with faith leaders:

— Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, Boone, N.C.

— Archimandrate Joseph Francavilla, Holy Transfiguration Greek Catholic Church, McLean, Va.

— Timothy J. Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York.

— Luis Palau, Luis Palau Evangelistic Association, Portland, Ore.

— Michael Craig Barnes, National Presbyterian Church, Washington.

— Gordon B. Hinckley, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

— Charles Blake, first assistant presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Los Angeles.

— Jean Bethke Elshtain, professor, University of Chicago.

— Max Lucado, Oak Hills Church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas.

— Joe E. Penal, United Methodist bishop, Richmond, Va.

— Gerald Bryant Kieschnick, the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, St. Louis.

— T.D. Jakes, The Potter’s House, Dallas.

— Gilbert Earl Patterson, Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tenn.

— William J. Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill.

— Jesse Miranda, president, the National Hispanic Evangelical Alliance, Costa Mesa, Calif.

— Demetrios C. Trakatellis, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York.

— John Yates, Falls Church Episcopal Church, Falls Church, Va.

— His Excellency Paul Loverde, Diocese of Arlington, Arlington, Va.

— Rajwant Singh, president of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, past president of the Inter-Faith Council of Metropolitan Washington and founder of the Guru-Gobind Singh Temple in Rockville, Md.

— Imam Hamza Hanson, Imam, Zatuna Institute, Heywood, Calif.

— The Venible Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen, co-chair of the International Buddhist Committee and president of Sakwa Phuntsok Ling Buddhist Order, Maryland (originally from Tibet).

— Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Society of America and Secretary of the Council of Hindu Temples of North America, Queens, N.Y.

— Father George Rados, Saints Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Potomac, Md.

— Rabbi Joshua Haberman, Hebrew Congregation of Washington.

— His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Law, Archdiocese of Boston.

— His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archdiocese of New York.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes