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Southern Baptist don't expect controversy at convention

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June 20, 2005

Albany- The three-day conference is in full swing in Nashville, Tennessee, with day one focusing on the pastors.

"It's a great time to get together with a lot of your friends to find out what they're doing, to find out what's working, what's not working, especially those you went to college with and seminary with," says Byne Memorial Baptist Church pastor William Sims.

This year black pastors will join the historically white group. There are about 3,000 black churches that are affiliated with the Southern Baptists, something South Georgia members are proud of.

"That's good news for Southern Baptists, but more important that good news for the kingdom. We're all working together to win people, to make a difference in the lives of people," says Sims.

"Hearing that there may be more African-American churches getting plugged in is exciting to me. We as a church are very supportive of that, have been all along. We have one of the only African-American missionaries in the Southern Baptist Convention and our church has been supporting him," Stephen Kendrick

Kendrick is associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church. He says he believes the millions of Southern Baptists are just ready to move away from the negative and get back to the real purpose of spreading God's word.

"There's so many issues that I think have been settled, so it's good now that they can move forward in a unified effort to reach people," says Kendrick.

President Bush is expected to speak to the group by satellite, but both men say they aren't even expecting that to spark any debate.

"The key issue that it always has to go back to is if a pastor rightfully equips his church to think biblically and to have wisdom in how they make decisions, then it will help them make better decisions in their voting," says Kendrick.

Both Byne and Sherwood sent a delegation from their churches to attend the convention. They are expected back Thursday.

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