Carl W. Kenney II is an award winning columnist and novelist. He is committed to engaging readers into a meaningful discussion related to matters that impact faith and society. He grapples with pondering the impact faith has on public space while seeking to understand how public space both hinders and enhances the walk of faith.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Rev. Jerry Young elected president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. despite oppossition to women in ministry
The National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. has morphed into
the Southern Baptist Convention.Sadly,
few have noticed.Even more
disheartening is no one seems to care.
When Rev. Jerry Young was elected as president of the
National Baptist Convention, no one stopped to question his position on women
in ministry.Young, pastor of New Hope
Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, was elected during the 134th
annual session of the convention last week in New Orleans.
Young received 3,195 of the 6,400 votes cast. He won on a
platform that promises to modify the organizations infrastructure.Masses of women voted for Young despite his
opposition to women in ministry. Men who serve with women on staff voted for
No one seems to care.
Young’s promise for infrastructure modifications was enough
to entice members to place the needs of women on the backburner.Women voted against their own interest, and
men made a statement regarding the power and privilege of men within the
National Baptist Convention.
The national press failed to cover Young’s election. With
more than 7.5 million members, the National Baptist Convention is the largest
black denomination in America. At one time, half of America’s black population
was a member of the convention.The lack
of national coverage reflects the groups dwindling influence, and the election
of Young speaks to the group’s lack of sensitivity related to women in
No one seems to care that Young has publicly denounced women
in ministry.No one seems to care about
the lingering message sent to the more than 10,000 women ordained by churches
within the National Baptist Convention.
How do you preach to women after voting for a man who fails
to affirm a woman’s role in
ministry?What justice is left for the
women who endured going to divinity school, and paying the price to serve in
leadership, only to be told there is no room at the table for them?How do you justify voting for a person who
refuses to embrace women?How do you
convince women to continue to trust their calling when the president of the
convention is on record in opposition to their service?
Where is the justice for women in ministry? Why no
outcry?Why aren’t women fighting?Has the patriarchy silenced their resistance?
Have they been sold a theological perspective that legitimizes their
Have they been told it doesn’t matter?Has the autonomy of the local church been
used to rationalize the promotion of a man who opposes women in
leadership?If this is true, why worry
about national leadership?If the
president of the National Baptist Convention isn’t elected to promote the common
values of local churches, why worry?
What meaning is there beyond the preferment of a national
agenda? Shouldn’t the national president present an agenda that reflects the
direction of churches across the country?Wouldn’t it help if the convention presses congregations to affirm women
in leadership? What about other issues that impact public space? If not, what’s
the role of the National Baptist Convention beyond it being a fellowship
designed to promote the personal agendas of the pastors who attend?
There was no mention of Young’s position on women in
ministry.The national press missed
it.No one seems to care. The silence
reflects the sad truth about the National Baptist Convention.Its purpose is in promoting its own
agenda.It has limited voice beyond the
purview of the internal matters of the convention.For many, there is comfort in the limits of
the convention.Others wonder what could
be if the convention moved beyond the walls of the institution.
Woman helped it happen.Men are content with maintaining the status quo.Lost in the silence is the prophetic voice of
the Church.As the world shifts in the
direction of change, the church refuses to engage in real dialogue related to
the implications of change.
The worst part is no one noticed.
When you’re deep into subjugation, you simply take the
mistreatment thrust your way.
Let the women of the Church say amen.
1.The National Baptist is NOT the larges AA denomination. The COGIC now has that distinction
2. Women did speak out. I went on twitter and I know Carolyn Knight was on Facebook as were other women.
3. Lorena Parrish, a member of the Women of Color in Ministry Council also blogged about this