In a quickly organized meeting, leaders of Baptist conventions and networks comprising more than 20 million adherents in North America explored “additional opportunities for fellowship and cooperation” on April 10 in Atlanta.
Attending were top officials of three black Baptist denominations, the American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.), the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and some others at odds with the conservative theological and social stances of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Former president Jimmy Carter, a lifelong Baptist lay leader, sponsored the gathering at the Carter Center. Bill Underwood, president-elect of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, helped recruit the participants. The meeting was pulled together “in less than two weeks,” said Underwood, adding that there has long been a “yearning for this kind of gathering.”