A newly formed African American Advisory Council will help communicate the perspectives of black churches and their leaders to Southern Baptist Convention entity leaders.
Executive Committee President Frank S. Page announced the initiative during his February 20 address to the EC Cooperative Program subcommittee. "Part of the work of the Executive Committee is . . . to provide quality connections and relationships," Page said in a statement to SBC LIFE after the committee meeting.
"I will soon be attending our first meeting of the African American Advisory Council," Page said. "I am very excited about working with the members of this council, which includes Dr. Ken Weathersby who is helping with all of our ethnic groups in raising awareness and involvement of our ethnic brothers and sisters in Cooperative Program promotion and development."
Weathersby is the presidential ambassador for ethnic church relations with the North American Mission Board.
The Council is a three-year ministry initiative (2012-2015) established by the presidents of the EC and the NAMB in an ongoing effort to engage the many faces of the SBC in meaningful dialogue about how we can work together as full and equal partners in the harvest. Page announced the formation of a Hispanic Advisory Council last September. Other ethnically-oriented advisory groups may be named as deemed appropriate.
Among the Council's chief aims is to help the EC, NAMB, and other SBC entity heads understand the perspectives that African American Southern Baptists bring to the common task of reaching the United States and the nations with the Gospel.
The Council is representative of the regions of the country and reflects the cultural diversity of the African American population. Its purpose is consultation, communication, and cooperation. It will neither launch nor execute ministries. It will provide information, insight, and counsel through NAMB and EC staff to the broader Southern Baptist community relative to the special needs and concerns of African American churches and church leaders in the Southern Baptist family of churches.
The Council will use surveys, phone conferences, Internet communication, personal meetings, and other means to gather and communicate information from consultative African American groups and leaders. Among those with whom it will communicate are key African American pastors and laymen, the National African American Fellowship, SBC, the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network, the Black Church Leadership Network, and African American leaders serving in elected roles in state Baptist conventions and on state Baptist convention staffs.
In addition, the Council will enable the presidents and staff of the EC and NAMB to maintain vital contact with the African American Baptist family through participation in strategic meetings and personal conferences. One of the Council's goals is more fully to incorporate African American Baptist churches and church leaders into the total fabric of Southern Baptist life and ministry.
African American Advisory Council Members:
K. Marshall Williams, Chairman, Pastor, Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Roscoe Belton, Middlebelt Baptist Church, Inkster, Michigan
Chandra Bennett, Greater Grace Temple Community Church, Nashville, Tennessee
Mark Croston, East End Baptist Church, Suffolk, Virginia
James Dixon, El Bethel Baptist Church, Fort Washington, Maryland
Leroy Fountain, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Lithonia, Georgia
Mark Hammond, Village Baptist Church, Norwalk, California
Kim Hardy, Connections Community Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Keith Jefferson, Parkway Baptist Church, Moseley, Virginia
Dennis Mitchell, Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia
Marvin Parker, Broadview Baptist Church, Broadview, Illinois
Kevin Smith, SBTS, Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky
Bucas Sterling III, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Terry Turner, Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, Mesquite, Texas
Alton B. Vines, New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, California
Frank Williams, Bronx Baptist Church, Bronx, New York
Ken Weathersby, Presidential Ambassador for Ethnic Church Relations, NAMB