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Welch meets Nashville mayor, voices prayer for city & SBC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch met with Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell April 5 and asked him to pray for the convention in the weeks leading up to the SBC’s June 21-22 in the state’s capital city.

Welch and Purcell met in the mayor’s office alongside Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, and James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources, for about 30 minutes.

“Southern Baptists have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the city of Nashville,” Welch said afterward, adding that he wants to make the relationship “stronger and stronger.”

Purcell, a professing Christian, will deliver the city’s welcoming remarks at the annual meeting in Nashville, while recording artist Ricky Skaggs, a Southern Baptist, will deliver the convention’s response.

During the meeting the men paused to allow Welch to pray for Purcell in his work as mayor and to pray for the city and the upcoming SBC meeting. Welch also asked Purcell for his prayers for the SBC sessions.

“This part of the world has some of the most loving and gracious people in all of the United States and the world, and we want to foster that relationship,” Welch told Baptist Press. “I wanted to personally meet and say hello to the mayor, since he is going to give our welcome.”

Welch is pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., but moved temporarily to Nashville in late February to speak to area churches and encourage participation in the convention — specifically in the Crossover evangelistic thrust set for June 18, when thousands of people will take to the streets to spread the Gospel.

“I think we have the potential of having one of the most thrilling meetings we’ve had in a long, long time,” he said.

Welch will move back to Daytona Beach in early May. By then, he will have spoken to around 100 churches and groups throughout middle Tennessee.

“My heart’s desire for this meeting is that the pastors and the people of these churches will feel … encouraged because, after all, the Southern Baptist Convention is made up of pastors and people in local churches,” Welch said.

“My going out there [to speaking engagements], moving around to large places and small places, and places that are rural and places within the city is to try to communicate the fact that we’re all important in the Kingdom of God and in this convention.”

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  • Michael Foust