Black Baptist convention begins in St. Louis

Monday, August 5, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- The Baptist denomination that once was home to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy will begin its annual convention here today.

About 10,000 members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention -- one of the nation's largest black denominations -- are expected to conduct business and attend religious classes at America's Center and at downtown hotels. The denomination has about 2.5 million members.

The denomination's meeting recently was moved to St. Louis, after its leaders canceled reservations in Cincinnati because they felt Ohio leaders were indifferent to working with them to ease racial tension in that city.

One of the main orders of business will be to elect a new president to succeed the Rev. Mackey Daniels of Louisville, Ky. Following the denomination's tradition, its first vice president, the Rev. Major L. Jemison of Oklahoma City, is unopposed for president. Races for second vice president and other positions are contested.

The delegates also will complete work on the denomination's first-ever pension plan for pastors and church employees.

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