Rev. R.B. Holmes

Dr. Clifford Jones

Dr. Boise Kimber

Dr. Randy Vaughn

Dr. Jerry Young

The country’s largest organization of black Christians, the National Baptist Convention USA, will hold its annual summit in New Orleans starting Monday, drawing an estimated 18,000 people to a city that has not hosted the group since 2004. Over the four-day conference, members plan to discuss not only religious issues but racial issues that are welling up within the walls of churches, across the United States and beyond.

“It seems we’re slipping back to the ’60s civil rights era in terms of some of our behaviors as a nation,” said theRev. Morris Tipton, a convention spokesman. “With President Obama’s administration, race relations have really reared their ugly heads. I’ve never seen it be this blatant in recent history.”

With an estimated 7 million members, the convention is seeking to leverage its base to become a voice in that discussion, Tipton said. “I think it’s our desire as a convention to maximize the use of our influence, due to the sheer number of our constituents,” Tipton said. “We are continuing to seek ways to make the convention a more vital and vibrant part of church life.”

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