The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee elected its first African American chair in a special called meeting June 16.
Rolland Slade, pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif., was unopposed as chair and was unanimously elected by ballot vote. Outgoing chair Mike Stone called for a ballot vote, he said, to mark the historic moment.
“I think we all realize by what is going on in this country as well as in our convention, this timing is in many ways the providence of our Lord,” said Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga. He served the last two years as Executive Committee vice chair.
Jared Wellman, pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, nominated Slade, who attributed his election to God.
“I don’t think there was ever a plan for me to be in this position,” Slade told Baptist Press. “I think it’s what God has done. … I believe God loves diversity. He created us, and we are all diverse. I think for us to not embrace it is saying that, ‘We’ve got a better idea than you.’”
The called meeting was conducted on Zoom and livestreamed, as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Executive Committee from meeting at its Nashville headquarters. The Executive Committee conducted business delayed by the cancellation in March of the 2020 SBC annual meeting, originally slated June 9-10 in Orlando, Fla. Read more…