Messengers or representatives from churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant group, elected the first African-American president for the 167-year-old denomination.
Delegates are meeting in New Orleans, the hometown of the Rev. Fred Luter, Jr., who “has already served as the first African-American in various leadership positions within the convention, including as its current first vice president,” Reuters reported Tuesday morning.
Luter, pastor of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, heads one of an estimated 3,400 black churches in the denomination.
“In 1995, the SBC apologized for its history and pledged to bring more minorities into leadership in the nation's largest Protestant denomination,” USA Today reported Tuesday. “Past President Frank Page reiterated that pledge Tuesday before the election of Luter, who was unopposed.”
“Electing Fred will send a great message to the church and the world,” Robert West, pastor of that Memphis congregation called One Faith Fellowship Baptist Church, told the Commercial Appealbefore the election.