Fred Luter elected SBC president
Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012
By David Roach
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention June 19. He is the first African American to hold the post.
David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, nominated Luter and previously said the election would send "a great, hopeful, powerful message to our city, our culture, our convention and our country."
"For many, it will make them rethink who Southern Baptists are, and it will help us reach the new diversity that we find in our cities," Crosby had said in an interview.
Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue since 1986, helped the church grow from a fledgling mission with 65 members to the largest SBC church in Louisiana with more than 7,000 members. After Hurricane Katrina damaged the congregation's building in 2005, he held worship services for displaced members in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houston before the church moved back into its facility in 2008.
In 2011 Luter became the SBC's first African American first vice president and in 2001 was the first African American to preach the convention sermon. He also served on the committee that proposed a revision of the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000.
He is a popular preacher at revivals, state conventions, evangelism conferences and other Southern Baptist gatherings.
Some observers felt it was appropriate that Luter's election took place on the day many celebrate "Juneteenth" and the anniversary of slavery's end in the United States.