Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd will convene A National Conversation on Racial Unity at the group’s annual meeting next month in St. Louis, the pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas announced in a blog May 2.
Floyd said the conversation will begin immediately following his presidential address during the Tuesday morning session June 14 at the America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. It will feature Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, and Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C. After that Floyd will convene a 55-minute panel discussion with 10 pastors including Fred Luter, the first and only African-American to serve as president of the nation’s second-largest faith group.
Floyd, who leaves office this year after serving a maximum of two one-year terms, said he has been asking Southern Baptists to pray for and pursue the next “Great Spiritual Awakening” in American history since his first press conference as SBC president. His thinking shifted, he said, after the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., sparked racial unrest across the nation unseen in recent years.
“When the Ferguson tragedy occurred, God burdened my heart immediately, adjusting my path of understanding,” Floyd said. “Politicians, corporate leaders, educators, religious leaders and pastors in America rarely initiate and move forward a positive agenda that leads to racial unity. We should seek to change this.”
Under “deep conviction by the Holy Spirit,” Floyd conducted a conference call in December 2014 with our SBC African-American pastors and two Anglo pastors talking “openly and honestly about the growing racial tension in our nation.”