Southern Baptist Convention’s National African American Fellowship Announces Initiatives for 2019 Annual Meeting

Marshal Ausberry, seated far right at the National African American Fellowship 2018 annual meeting in Dallas, will deliver his first annual sermon as NAAF president when the group meets in Birmingham, Ala. in June. At the podium is former president Byron Day. BP file photo by Matt Miller

Honoring George Liele, a former slave and the first North American missionary, is among initiatives the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the Southern Baptist Convention will pursue at its 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

NAAF will submit a resolution to add a George Liele Day to the SBC calendar and will ask SBC seminaries to consider creating Liele scholarships, NAAF President Marshal Ausberry told Baptist Press.

Evangelism, church planting, missions, continued outreach to Southern Baptists on the U.S. Virgin Islands, and greater opportunities in SBC life for African Americans are also among NAAF priorities in the coming year, said Ausberry, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va.

Ausberry noted “major advancements in SBC life for African Americans,” including state convention presidencies and notable posts at SBC entities, but said “it is critical that the SBC presents openness toward all ethnic and racial groups in hiring and service.”

Recognizing Liele’s contributions, which predate those of Adoniram Judson and William Carey, will help diversify the SBC, Ausberry said. NAAF has named its 2019 banquet in Liele’s honor.

“These initiatives will help assimilate more African Americans into SBC life and help all SBC members appreciate that we must work together to reach the lost,” Ausberry said. “These initiatives are imperative to aspire young African American pastors to connect with the SBC.”

A 2012 SBC resolution formally recognizes Liele as the first overseas missionary from the U.S. Scholarships in his name could help train future African American missionaries, Ausberry said.

NAAF will hold its annual business meeting at 4 p.m. and its banquet at 6:30 p.m., both June 10 at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, 1101 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. The business meeting’s devotional speaker will be Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, Ill., president of the Illinois Baptist State Association and a member of the SBC Executive Committee.

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Source: Baptist Press