Oklahoma City minister in line to lead Baptist Convention

Sunday, August 4th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ An Oklahoma City minister is poised to lead the Baptist denomination that once was home to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy will begin its annual convention here Monday.

About 10,000 members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention will elect a new president. The Rev. Major L. Jemison of Oklahoma City is unnoposed for the office. Jemison is the denomination's first vice president.

If elected, he will succeed the Rev. Mackey Daniels of Louisville, Ky.

Races for second vice president and other positions are contested.

The denomination is one of the nation's largest black denominations and has about 2.5 million members.

The denomination also will honor singer-actor Harry Belafonte for his lifetime of civil rights work. He will receive the denomination's Freedom Award Wednesday afternoon.

The denomination's meeting recently was moved to St. Louis, after its leaders canceled reservations in Cincinnati because they felt Ohio leaders were indifferent to working with them to ease racial tension in that city.

The delegates also will complete work on the denomination's first-ever pension plan for pastors and church employees. And they will vote on public policy resolutions.

The most passionate discussions may focus on a resolution to demand that the United States pay descendants of former slaves reparations for their ancestors' enslavement.