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Southern Baptist Convention may elect first African-American leader

12:57 PM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
(AP File)
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NEW ORLEANS -- It's a time of change for the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

The Southern Baptist Convention holds its annual meeting this week in New Orleans to elect a new leader, vote on an alternative name and discuss ways to attract a more diverse membership.

The biggest development could be the likely election of the denomination's first African-American leader, the Rev. Fred Luter Jr.

There are lots of obstacles in place for the denomination to break trends of declining numbers and appeal to a broader group of believers in a country that is growing more diverse.

Ed Stetzer, president of the denomination's Lifeway Research, sees a long slide that can only be reversed with aggressive efforts to cut down internal disagreements, embrace new leaders from different backgrounds and plant new churches.

The Southern Baptist Convention is streaming its meetings live on its website.

(Associated Press)

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