By Dr. Jerry Domatob,
Mississippi’s Missionary Baptist Church leaders and members joyfully converged at the Jackson Marriott Hotel, where they celebrated their 129th anniversary, July 16-20.
Prayers, meetings, music, networking, sermons and fellowship marked the event. Against the backdrop of the theme, “Envisioning the Future with High Expectation in Jesus Christ,” members engaged in educational reflections, social interaction, networking as well as worship, fellowship leadership and management strategies.
Under the leadership of President Rev. Isiac Jackson Jr., Executive Secretary Rev. Otis L. Davis and Treasurer Rev. Melvin Montgomery participants came from diverse congregations throughout the state for the well attended annual convention.
Jackson in his opening homily thanked God for empowering the association to survive and grow over the decades. He saluted officers, members, pastors, preachers, messengers and friends.
Jackson said in the future the congregation will focus on developing the Natchez property where Jackson State University was founded, improving the Mississippi Baptist seminary and tackling social justice issues.
The General Baptist Association came into being in 1872 under the leadership of the celebrated Columbus minister, Rev. Jesse Freeman Boulden. In 1890, a historic merger was orchestrated between the General Baptist Association and the General Convention. A veteran ex-slave preacher Rev. Randall Pollard emerged as the pioneer leader whom many described as “The Father of Negro Baptists in Mississippi.” One of their early accomplishments was the founding and operation of Natchez College, present day Jackson State University, where pastors and other church leaders were educated. The convention also established schools and seminaries for blacks in an era when many were excluded from mainstream establishments. Although the organization wrestled with problems during its 129 year history, they also bequeathed lasting legacies in other arenas.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba welcomed participants to the event. He noted that, “Over the decades, this outstanding organization has served the citizens of our city through the promotion of Christian education, evangelism, social services and profound ministry. We must continue to support efforts that cultivate the spiritual and educational needs of our citizens.” Lumumba applauded the dedication and commitment of church leaders and encouraged them to keep up the excellent work.
Mississippi State Governor Phil Byrant greeted convention members and thanked the organizers for hosting it. “I commend your faithfulness and commitment to promoting the importance and awareness of your mission. Mississippi is proud of its leaders.”
Attendees benefitted from workshops, seminars, discussions and meetings.
Arrangements are underway for the 138th Annual Session of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. It will be held in Minneapolis, MN, September 3-7. Dr. Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., is president of the National Baptist Convention.
Jerry Komia Domatob is a professor of Mass Communication, at Alcorn State University, Lorman-Mississippi. An author, journalist, photographer, poet and researcher, he is currently working on three projects. His latest publications are: Communication, Culture and Human Rights as well as Positive Vibrations. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See photos page 19.