A year after all those Democrats came to town, Charlotte is hosting another big convention.
More than 25,000 members of the National Baptist Convention USA will gather Sept. 2-6 at the Charlotte Convention Center for their 133rd annual session. It’s the country’s largest predominantly African-American religious denomination, with 7.5 million members. Based in Nashville and born in the 1880s, it’s also the oldest black Baptist organization in the U.S.
Participants will attend worship services, youth concerts, a golf outing, a presidential education banquet and much more. State Baptist groups will sponsor 32 breakfasts and lunches at 12 Charlotte hotels.
“There will also be great preaching and great singing throughout the day every day,” said the Rev. Marty Tipton, the convention’s media spokesman.
Presiding over the event will be the Rev. Julius Scruggs, convention president since 2009 and pastor at First Missionary Baptist in Huntsville, Ala.
The host church is Friendship Missionary Baptist, 3400 Beatties Ford Road, led by the Rev. Clifford Jones Sr.
He’s a nationally renowned leader of the “emerging church,” a mostly evangelical movement. It emphasizes youth and small communities, is frustrated with traditional church structures and wants to make Christianity relevant in a changing 21st century world.
McLaren will speak all three days at the church, 1900 Queens Road, including giving the Sunday sermon. His topic that morning: “What Difference Does the Christian Message Make?” Hint: His answer will be found in the New Testament’s Acts of the Apostle, 16:11-40.
Past speakers in the church’s sometimes provocative, always compelling series have included “The Gnostic Gospels” author Elaine Pagels and retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, a Charlotte native.
Hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary, it will be Oct. 11-12 at First Baptist Church, 732 Indian Trail-Faiview Rd. in Indian Trail, N.C.
“Apologetics” is a conservative branch of Christianity devoted to the intellectual defense of the faith.
Conference speakers have included prison minister Charles Colson and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson.
Registration and details here