Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Progressive National Baptists Continue Stand Against Iraq War

I meant to post this yesterday. For those who don’t know, the Progressive National Baptist Convention is a 2.5 million member denomination of African-American Baptist Churches–many of whom are also connected to either the American Baptist Churches, USA or to one of the other National Baptist (African-American) groups. The PNBC began in 1961 as a split in the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. over tactics in the Civil Rights movement and over how long the convention president should serve. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gardner Taylor, and other then-younger Baptist ministers led in splitting from the more conservative parent body. The motto of the PNBC is “Fellowship, Progress, Service, Peace.” Consistent with that motto, the PNBC has denounced the war in Iraq since its inception in 2003.

At its most recent convention (annual meeting for you non-Baptist readers), 10-12 August in Cincinnatti, OH, the PNBC reiterated its denunciation of the Iraq war, called for the troops to come home, now, and noted that the $1 billion per week spent on this war and occupation are not available for much-needed domestic spending such as the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. See the full press coverage at EthicsDaily.com .
It’s nice to know that at least one U.S. Baptist denomination has some moral clarity here.

On a related, but sadder, note: Readers of this blog (all 3 of you) may remember my reporting from the annual Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. Our preacher for the week was Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Senior Minister of Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, CA. Allen Temple, a BPFNA partner congregation, is dually aligned with the American Baptist Churches and the PNBC. Dr. Smith, together with his wife, Joanne Smith, were attending the PNB Convention in Cincinnatti when Mrs. Smith, who had not been well, died in her sleep in the early hours of Saturday 13 Aug. 2006. Her funeral, traditionally referred to in Black Church circles as a “going home service,” will be this Sat. 18 August 2006 @ 11 a.m. at Allen Temple. The BPFNA board and staff have sent a card and flowers. Condolences may be sent to: Allen Temple Baptist Church8501 International BlvdOakland, Ca. 94621
(510) 544-8910 (Phone)(510) 544-8918 (Fax).

I did not know Sister Smith and only met Dr. Smith once prior to this July’s peace camp. But I am saddened by the loss of yet another of God’s faithful servants for wholistic ministry, bearing witness in both word and deed to the in-breaking Rule of God. May God raise up more such servants. Amen.


August 16, 2006 - Posted by | Baptists, Iraq, just peacemaking

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