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Historic Southern Baptist Convention May Elect 1st African American President

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On Tuesday, history could be made at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, as it may be electing the first African American president, and he's from New Orleans.

Pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist church is the man of the hour as he walks down the halls of the convention center. So many people want to stop him and cheer him on.

One man tells him, "You're time has come!"

Luter responds, "It has come. I'm excited about the opportunity."

He would be the leader of an organization that once endorsed racial segregation.

"This convention was started as a result of slavery and so now you have, years later the possibility of an African American leading a convention that was started as result of slavery. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal so, I’m really excited about that and pumped about the opportunity," Luter said.

The Southern Baptist Convention is like a giant meeting of pastors and lay people who are very active in their churches.

"It’s like you’re the face of the Southern Baptist convention when you’re president," Luter said.

The convention has been trying to reach people of various ethnic backgrounds, but is especially excited about Luter's future, because he is running unopposed, which is unusual at the convention.

"We have a gentleman who is a Godly pastor, a great leader, and he’s being elected for those reasons and I believe that is going to be a strong message about who we’re about," said Kelly Boggs, Editor of the Baptist Message.

"My prayer is that I can be some type of bridge builder to let folk know, no matter the race, the color, the background that we can all do the same thing as far as working for the kingdom of God, and we can do it together," Luter said.

The formal vote would come Tuesday afternoon.

Another item under consideration would be using the term "Great Commission Baptists" as an alternative to Southern Baptist.

These are just some of the responses reflecting the Southern Baptist Convention's openness to change.



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