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Rev. Willie McLaurin named as first African American President of Southern Baptist Convention

Rev. Willie McLaurin has been named interim President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. He is the first African American to hold this position in the church’s 175-year history. This is especially momentous considering that the Southern Baptist Convention is known as one of the whitest denominations in the United States, and has long struggled with its pro-slavery and racist roots.

McLaurin’s appointment came in the wake of several resignations after an investigation into how the Executive Committee of the SBC dealt with sexual abuse reports. The committee feels confident in McLaurin’s leadership and extensive experience in serving state and national roles over the years.

Holly Meyer of AP News writes:

Tennessee pastor Willie McLaurin has been named interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, becoming the first African American to lead one of the denomination’s ministry entities in its more than 175-year history.


McLaurin’s appointment as one of the top administrators for the largest Protestant church body in the United States was announced Tuesday in Baptist Press, an official SBC news outlet. He will lead the day-to-day business of the committee, which acts on behalf of the convention when it is not holding its annual two-day national gathering in June.


“Our EC staff is committed to serving our Convention well. … My prayer is that we will continue to put a laser-sharp focus on cooperation and collaboration,” McLaurin told Baptist Press.

Read the full article here.

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