Diversity on Agenda at Southern Baptist Convention
Johnson Ferry's Wright urges initiatives to diversify leadership ranks.
A prominent East Cobb minister is among those calling on the Southern Baptist Convention to get serious about ethnic diversity initiatives.
That topic will be high on the priority list when the SBC's annual meeting starts next week in Phoenix. SBC president Bryant Wright, pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, said the executive committee has been discussing recommendations to incorporate more ethnic participation in its leadership ranks.
"We have worked real hard to have ethnic diversity in our Committee on Committees appointments as well as on the resolutions and credentials committees and the tellers. We haven't counted it. We've just worked to see that there's a very good representation."
One of those recommendations would give the SBC president the latitude to appoint "individuals who represent the diversity within the convention, and particularly ethnic diversity."
One seminary professor has called on the predominantly white SBC to appoint a black president.
According to 2009 SBC data, only 6.5 percent of SBC denominations are African-American, with 12.5 percent comprising other ethnic identities.
The SBC meets at a time when the number of Baptisms and members continue to fall.
In another diversity-related issue, a coalition of gay groups announced this week it would hand-deliver a letter to the SBC gathering, demanding an "apology" for church teachings those organizations contend have been harmful to the gay and lesbian community.
During the SBC meeting, Johnson Ferry worship pastor Mark Cottingham will lead a congregational worship service that also features the Johnson Ferry choir.