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Pastor resigns after celebrating KKK leader

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (BP) -- A bivocational Southern Baptist pastor resigned from his church Wednesday (July 29), after backlash resulting from his participation in an annual birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a leader in the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

As non-whites become majority, youth ministries adjust

ORANGE, Calif. (BP) -- For Ricardo Vides, young adults pastor at Ministerios Betesda Church in Orange, Calif., approaching ministry from an ethnically diverse perspective is just reality. A more pressing reality all the time.

Mississippi removes Confederate symbol from flag

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi will retire the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design. A broad coalition of lawmakers -- Black and white, Democrat and Republican -- voted Sunday (June 28) for change as the state faced increasing pressure amid nationwide protests against racial injustice.

African American leaders call for Southern Baptists to stand together in unity

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Calling the racial unrest roiling the nation "spiritual warfare," and saying "unless hearts change, nothing will change in America," Philadelphia pastor K. Marshall Williams urged Southern Baptists to stand together in unity against injustice. "The world is waiting for us to come together," said Williams, senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church of Philadelphia. "Because Beloved, truth be told, this is just a dress rehearsal for when we get around the throne. I think maybe God is stripping us. I don't know about you, but this has been a stripping time for me, a pruning time for me, a time in the refiner's fire, that God would see what He really has as far as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ."v

Five years after shooting, Emanuel uneasily adapts as pilgrimage site

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/RNS) -- Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to livestream its services, visitors to "the Holy City," as Charleston is sometimes called, could often be spotted wandering outside, taking photos of the façade. Worship on a given Sunday might include people from across the U.S. and some foreign countries.

Panel discussion covers racism, politics and evangelism

NASHVILLE (BP) – Given the current upheaval race relations in the United States, Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, said the Southern Baptist Convention must seize the tumultuous moment to change. "We have to move past as a denomination being ‘not racist,’ to being anti-racist," said Pitman during a panel discussion Tuesday (June 9) hosted by Baptist 21. "That’s got to become who we are."

Mississippi pastor finds car keyed with racial slur

CLINTON, Miss. (BP) -- Tiki Broome, interim student pastor at First Baptist Church of Yazoo City, Miss., woke up Tuesday morning, June 2, to find a racial slur keyed into the side of his car. Broome, who said he had been outspoken about racial injustice, had recently received some backlash via social media. But the defacement of his car, he told Jackson, Miss., television station WLBT, was another level.

FIRST-PERSON: It starts at home

"I can't draft national policies ... or write enough columns to change anybody's mind," Todd Brady says, "but I can ... teach what is right and good to the boys in my house."

Confederate monuments’ removal praised by Southern Baptists

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- As a child growing up in Virginia, Marshal Ausberry never understood it. Why were monuments to Confederate soldiers prominently displayed in public spaces across his state? "To see the Confederate flag and these larger than life statues to over-romanticized Confederate heroes of the Confederate South strewn throughout Virginia constantly reminded me that there were people who were willing to fight, bleed, sacrifice and die to keep black people chained into a system of brutality and bondage," said Ausberry, who pastors Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va., and is first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

FIRST-PERSON: I am too conservative to stay silent on racial injustices

"I speak out about issues of racial injustice for the same reason I speak out on abortion and same-sex marriage," David Prince says. "Namely, because I am a theological conservative committed to the authority and sufficiency of God's inerrant Word."