The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB), Which Appears to Include Dr. Frederick Haynes, Responds to Rev. Dwight McKissic, Rev. Randy G. Vaughn, and the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors With Statement of Support for Dr. Forrest Harris’ Invitation to a Lesbian Minister and Two Pro-Homosexual Pastors to Preach in the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series at American Baptist College

Special Note from BCNN1 Editors Regarding the Article Below

A dear pastor who is a part of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors sent us a kind email regarding the article below, because as far as he knows, the current president of the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, MS, and the immediate past president, Dr. Julius Scruggs, pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL, are firmly against homosexuality, homosexual marriage, and against the lesbian minister and two pro-homosexual pastors speaking at the American Baptist College. Here is our response to this dear pastor:

March 10, 2015

Thank you for your kind email.

We trust that you, your family, and church are doing well.

The way the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) have the open letter posted on their site (awab.org) (click here), which they linked to BlackChristianNews.com, makes it appear as though the current president, Dr. Jerry Young, and the immediate past president, Dr. Julius Scruggs, support and agree with the invitation of the lesbian minister and the two pro-homosexual ministers to speak at the American Baptist College which the National Baptist Convention owns and operates. The letter that a group of ministers signed who are apparently associated with the AWAB, which included Dr. Freddy Haynes, is as follows:

Faith Leaders Issue Statement of Support for Dr. Forrest Harris and the American Baptist College

On March 5, 2015 a press release was issued by the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors expressing deep concern for the American Baptist College* in Nashville, TN and its invitation to Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak and Pastor Delman Coates to preach as a part of this year’s Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series.

This statement is in response to last week’s press release by the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors and seeks to offer support to President Forrest Harris and the Board and Trustees of American Baptists College as well as Bishop Flunder, Dr. Boesak and Pastor Coates. The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists, the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference and faith leaders from across the Baptist and other Christian traditions join together in the following statement.

*The American Baptist College is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA and not the American Baptist Churches, USA.

We applaud the wisdom, prophetic courage, and commitment to intellectual honesty and academic integrity that Dr. Forrest Harris has demonstrated as President of American Baptist College by inviting Bishop Yvette Flunder of California to preach and lecture at American Baptist College later this month. A few vocal opponents to equality for persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender are trying to force Dr. Harris to “disinvite” Bishop Flunder because she is a lesbian who married her same-sex partner. Those critics also are displeased that Dr. Harris invited Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak of South Africa and Pastor Delmon Coates of the United States to preach and/or lecture at American Baptist College because Dr. Boesak and Pastor Coates are effective advocates for equality and are equally effective in exposing the injustice of homophobia.

American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing, and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships.

We thank God that President Harris has not allowed homophobia to shape and determine who can be an effective advocate for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In that spirit, we pray that the Holy Spirit will bless Bishop Flunder, Dr. Boesak, Pastor Coates, and other prophetic leaders to be invited, welcomed, affirmed, and encouraged by other courageous and principled Christian pastors, educators, and denominational leaders such as President Harris.

Again, the way this letter is formatted makes it appear as though Dr. Jerry Young and Dr. Julius Scruggs are in agreement with the letter because their names are affixed right under the letter. At the very least, it makes it seem as though they are aware of this letter and are prepared to receive letters of support from other pastors, churches, and Christians for Dr. Forrest Harris in support of the lesbian minister and pro-homosexual pastors coming. Normally, when an organization writes an open letter such as this one, the names of the people who sign the letter are affixed directly underneath the letter. That was not the case with this letter as you can see on both their site (awab.org) and on BlackChristianNews.com (BCNN1.com).

In the meantime, out of respect for your concerns for these two dear brothers, we will remove Dr. Young and Dr. Scruggs names from the title of the article, but we will leave Dr. Freddy Haynes’ name on there because he is one of the actual signers of the letter. In addition, it would be good for you, Dr. Young, and Dr. Scruggs to know that we used the words “Appears to Include” in the title as the letter format suggested. Also, we stated that Dr. Young’s church, Dr. Scruggs’ church, and Dr. Haynes’ church were not included in the Welcoming & Affirming Baptist church network.

If you have a personal connection or relationship with Dr. Young and Dr. Scruggs, please tell them that they need to hurry up and publicly denounce the invitations to the homosexual ministers, otherwise as the current president and the immediate past president, they will be seen as complicit with it. In addition to that, Dr. Jerry Young should tell Dr. Forrest Harris and the American Baptist College not to have the lesbian minister and the two pro-homosexual pastors as speakers. And that will put an end to this demonic fiasco.

Best regards,

Black Christian News Network One
BCNN1.com

Dr. Forrest Harris
Dr. Forrest Harris
On March 5, 2015 a press release was issued by the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors expressing deep concern for the American Baptist College* in Nashville, TN and its invitation to Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak and Pastor Delman Coates to preach as a part of this year’s Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series.

This statement is in response to last week’s press release by the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors and seeks to offer support to President Forrest Harris and the Board and Trustees of American Baptists College as well as Bishop Flunder, Dr. Boesak and Pastor Coates.  The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists, the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference and faith leaders from across the Baptist and other Christian traditions join together in the following statement.

*The American Baptist College is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA and not the American Baptist Churches, USA.

We applaud the wisdom, prophetic courage, and commitment to intellectual honesty and academic integrity that Dr. Forrest Harris has demonstrated as President of American Baptist College by inviting Bishop Yvette Flunder of California to preach and lecture at American Baptist College later this month.  A few vocal opponents to equality for persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender are trying to force Dr. Harris to “disinvite” Bishop Flunder because she is a lesbian who married her same-sex partner.  Those critics also are displeased that Dr. Harris invited Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak of South Africa and Pastor Delmon Coates of the United States to preach and/or lecture at American Baptist College because Dr. Boesak and Pastor Coates are effective advocates for equality and are equally effective in exposing the injustice of homophobia. 

American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing, and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships.

We thank God that President Harris has not allowed homophobia to shape and determine who can be an effective advocate for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In that spirit, we pray that the Holy Spirit will bless Bishop Flunder, Dr. Boesak, Pastor Coates, and other prophetic leaders to be invited, welcomed, affirmed, and encouraged by other courageous and principled Christian pastors, educators, and denominational leaders such as President Harris.

To send a personal letter of support please send your comments to:

To the American Baptist College

Dr. Forrest E Harris, [email protected],
Phone(615) 256-1463
President and CEO, American Baptist College
1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207

To the National Baptist Convention

Dr. Jerry Young, [email protected],
Phone:  (601) 362-6265, Fax:  (601) 362-1854
New Hope Baptist Church
5202 Watkins Drive, Jackson, MS 39206

American Baptist College
2015 Board of Trustees
Dr. Albert G. Berry, Board Chair
Berry Consultants
Nashville, TennesseeBishop Lawrence Kirby, Board Vice Chair
St. Paul Baptist Church
Racine, WisconsinRev. Dr. Julius R.Scruggs
First Missionary Baptist Church
Huntsville, AlabamaMr. Frank C. Davis
Frank C. Davis & Associates
Nashville, TennesseeMs. Linda Rose, Esq.
Rose Immigration Law Firm
Nashville, TennesseeDr. Iva Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap
President Emerita – Author – Educator – Lecturer
St. Petersburg, Florida

Mr. Dennie Marshall
Sun Trust Bank
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Samuel Hale
Zion Baptist Church
Springfield, Illinois

Rev. Dr. Wilma Johnson
New Prospect Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

Rev. Don Darius Butler
Tabernacle Community Baptist Church
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ms. Sherri L. Neal
Hospital Corporation of America
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Dr. Darrell Drumwright
Temple Baptist Church
Nashville, TN

Mr. Webb Campbell, Atty.
Sherrard & Roe, PLC
Nashville, Tennessee 

Ms. Latrisha Jemison
Regions Bank
Nashville, Tennessee 

Rev. Derrick L. Jackson
First Baptist Church of Gallatin
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Tellis J. Chapman
Galilee Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

James A. Crumlin, Jr., Attorney
Bone McAllester North, PLLC
Nashville, Tennessee

National Baptist Convention
2015 Board and Officers
Jerry Young (MS)
PresidentHarry Blake (LA)
Vice President-At-LargeDonaldson Jones (AL)
Spec. Ass’t to PresidentJesse V. Bottoms (NY)
NE Region VPClarence Moore (GA)
SE Region VPVernon Swift (AL)
SW Region VP

Rogers Kirk (AL)
MW Region VP

John Reed (OK)
West Region VP

Claybon Lea, Jr. (CA)
Far West Region VP

William Thompson (BA)
Int’l Relations VP

Calvin McKinney (NJ)
General Secretary

James Blassingame (SC)
Assistant Secretary

Alvin Edwards (VA)
Assistant Secretary

Isiac Jackson (MS)
Assistant Secretary

Marion Johnson (IN)
Assistant Secretary

Fred Campbell (CA)
Chairman, Board of Dir.

Ricky D. Turner (KS)
Treasurer

Albert G. Davis (PA)
Assistant Treasurer

Kenneth D. R. Clayton (NJ)
Statistician

Thomas Morris, Sr. (MS)
Parliamentarian

D. Edward Chaney (NV)
Asst. Parliamentarian

Melvin B. Girton, Sr. (IN)
Historian

George W. Waddles, Sr. (IL)
Pres., Congress of Christian Educ.

Elliot Cuff (OH)
Dean, Congress of Christian Educ.Hugh Dell Gatewood (TX)
President, Woman’s AuxiliaryMatthew L. Canada (MS)
President, Moderator’s DivisionWillie Burke (NJ)
President, Laymen’s MovementJames McHenry (OK)
President, Ushers & Nurses Aux.Angelique Banks-Coleman (NY)
President, Music  & Worship Arts AuxiliaryWilliam B. Moore (PA)
Chairman, Foreign Mission Board

Michael D. Warren (FL)
Chairman, Home Mission Board

Gilbert Pickett (NY)
Exec. Sec’y, Home Mission Board

O.K. Patterson (MO)
Chairman, Evangelism Board

Alvin Love (IL)
Chairman, Faith Based Initiatives

Willie Gable, Jr. (LA)
Chairman, Housing Commission

Bernard Mitchell (MS)
Chairman, Late Night Service

Darian Brown (PA)
Chairman, Registration Committee

Calvin Cage (DC)
Chairman, Concessions Comm.

Frank Raines III (MI)
Chairman, Labor Relations Comm.

Harold Simmons (MO)
Chair, Prison Min. & Crim. Justice Comm.

Ervin R. Millsaps (IL)
Devotional Leader

C. Dennis Edwards, I (AR)
Chairman, SSPB

Derrick Jackson (TN)
Exec. Director, SSPB

Dr. Robert Scott Jones (PA)
Director, Admin. Transition


Respectfully Submitted in Christian Peace and Conscience,

Rev. Robin R. Lunn
Executive Director
Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Rev. David Weasley
Chair of the Board
Association of Welcoming & Affirming BaptistsRev. MacArthur H. Flournoy
Director of Faith Partnerships & Mobilization
Religion & Faith Programs
Human Rights CampaignDr. Michael J. Adee
Director, Global Faith and Justice Project
Santa Fe, New MexicoRev. Dr. Michael D. Castle
President, Alliance of Baptists
Senior Pastor, Harmony Creek Church
Dayton, OHRev. Paula Clayton Dempsey
Director of Partnership Relations
Alliance of BaptistsReverend Kathy Manis Findley
New Millennium Church
Little Rock, ArkansasThe Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
Ordained Southern Baptist Pastor
Minister of Social Justice, Hope for Peace and Justice
Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ
Dallas, Texas

Stephen Bouchard
Secretary
Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Member, Metro Baptist Church
New York, NY

Rev. Stephen A. Hammond
Co-Pastor, Peace Community Church (American Baptist Churches, USA) Oberlin, Ohio

The Rev. Dr. Dale K. Edmondson
American Baptist Pastor, Retired

Rev. Michael Woolf,
First Baptist Church
Swansea, MA

Rev. Dr.Barbara Hulsing
Pastor, Good Shepherd Community of Faith
Buffalo, NY

Rev. Marie Mainard O’Connell
Minister of First Presbyterian Church
Little Rock, AR

Raouf J. Halaby, Independent Scholar

Rev. Malik Saafir
New Millennium Church
Little Rock, AR

Rev. Jacki Belile
Founding Minister, Living Well Ministries
President,Ministers Council of ABC-Metro Chicago

Rev. Dr. Randle R. Mixon
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Palo Alto, CA

Rev. Rich Rose
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Ithaca, NY

Rev. Dr. Kenneth J. Meyers
Alliance of Baptists
Faith Formation Specialist

The Rev. Dr. Paul C. Hayes,
Pastor, Noank Baptist Church
Noank, CT

Rev. Dr. Deborah DeMars Conrad
Pastor, Woodside Church (ABC, UCC)
Flint, MI

Rev. Douglas R. Sharp, PhD
Interim Minister
Hyde Park Union Church
Chicago, Illinois

Rev Robert V Thompson
Minister Emeritus, Lake Street Church
Evanston, Illinois
Board Chair Emeritus, Parliament of the World’s Religions

Rev. Kevin Rose
Cumberland First Baptist Church
Indianapolis IN

Stephen V. Sprinkle, Ph.D.
Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry, and
Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Baptist Programming
Brite Divinity School

Reverend Jay Cummings
Minister Woodside Church
Flint, MI

Wendell Griffen
Pastor, New Millennium Church
Little Rock, Arkansas
Trustee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Dr. Iva Carruthers
General Secretary
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III
Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church, Dallas, Tx
Board Chair, Samuel DeWitt Proctor ConferenceRev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III
National Secretary, ABC USA
Executive Director, American Baptist Home Mission SocietiesRodney McKenzie, Jr.
Faith Work Director
National LGBTQ Task ForceDr. Wilhelmina Perry
LGBT Faith Leaders of African DescentRev./Rvda. LeDayne McLeese Polaski
Executive Director/Directora Ejecutiva
BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la PazDr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Pastor Emeritus
Trinity UCC ChicagoRev. Rachel A. McGuire
Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church
Rochester, NY

The Rev. Dr. Larry Bethune
Senior Pastor
University Baptist Church
Austin, Texas

Rev. Susan Sparks
Pastor, Madison Avenue Baptist Church
New York, NY

Rev. Dr. Everett C. Goodwin
Historian, Seminary Professor and ordained ABC/USA Minister
Fairfax, Virginia

Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough
Pastor, New Community of Faith
San Jose,CA

Dr. Michael Bledsoe
Pastor, Riverside Baptist Church, Washington DC
Recurring Adjunct Professor, Howard University School of Divinity

Rev. Jill McCrory
Pastor, Twinbrook Baptist Church
Rockville, MD

Sam Troxal
Immediate Past President of Church Council
First United Church
Bloomington, IN

Rev. Dr. Michael Ford
Senior Minister, Lake Avenue Baptist Church
Rochester NY

Rev. David S. Van Brakle
Senior Pastor, Community Church of Wilmette

Rev. Sandi John
Pastoral Counselor and Spiritual Director
Chico, CA

The Rev. Gary W. Harris
Founding Pastor of the Circle of Hope ALIVE!
Davenport, FL

Rev. Micah Bucey
Associate Minister, Judson Memorial Church
New York, NY

Rev. Bill Taber
Pastor, York Baptist Church
York, NY

Pastor Jim Hopkins
Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
Oakland, CA

Rev. Scott Stearman
Co-Pastor, Metro Baptist Church
New York, NY

Rev. Dr. Alice Burnette Greene
Former President
American Baptist Ministers Council

Dr. Eldon G. Ernst
Profesor Emeritus,
American Baptist seminary of the ‘west
Berkeley, California

Min. Nicole Iaquinto
Seminary Intern at Immanuel Baptist Church
Rochester, NY

Cathy Baskin
Director of Outreach and Administration
Ravensworth Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Source: AWAB.org