Posted on : Tuesday June 1, 2010

James Dixon, Jr., pastor of El Bethel Church, Ft. Washington, Md., is being nominated as president.

By Karen L. Willoughby

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)—The church where the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the Southern Baptist Convention held its first official gathering in 1994 will be the site of the Sunday evening worship service that begins NAAF’s 2010 annual meeting.

NAAF’s annual worship will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at Tangelo Church in Orlando, Fla., where Andrew Pollard is pastor. “LoveLoud through the Great Commission,” the theme of the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 15-16 annual meeting in Orlando, also will be the theme for NAAF’s annual meeting.

Erik Cummings, pastor of New Life Church in Carol City, Fla., will be the worship service’s guest speaker.

Cummings, president of the Florida African American Fellowship, “is giving us great support as we make our plans for the Florida meeting,” said NAAF treasurer Mark Croston, pastor of East End Church in Suffolk, Va. “He is an innovative leader among Florida Baptists and greatly appreciated.”

On Monday, June 14, NAAF’s business session will begin at 4 p.m. in the room W307A in the Orange County Convention Center’s West Building.

A new president and vice president are to be elected at NAAF’s business session. The nominating committee has recommended James Dixon as president. He’s pastor of El Bethel Church in Fort Washington, Md.

Also during the business session, appreciation will be expressed to Michael Pigg, the NAAF outgoing president, for his leadership over the last two years. Among his accomplishments, Pigg led NAAF last year to inaugurate a “Friend of Pastors” award.

In 2009, the award was presented to Ken Weathersby, vice president for church planting at the North American Mission Board. “We have made great strides as a group mainly because of what God has done through him,” Pigg said last year in honoring Weathersby.

“Our objective as an organization is to facilitate the process of African American pastors engaging in God’s work through the Southern Baptist Convention,” Pigg said at the time. “Our executive council determined we needed to recognize when people really deliver, and Ken Weathersby delivers every time, time after time.”

Leon Johnson, longtime pastor of Bread of Life Missionary Church in metro Chicago, now retired to the Orlando area, will bring a devotional message.

At a banquet Monday evening, the Friend of Pastors Award and other awards will be presented and Pigg will deliver his presidential address.

“The annual meetings of NAAF and the SBC are important times for us to come together, to worship, to fellowship, to network, to be informed, to be encouraged, and to encourage,” Croston said.

“It is a reminder to each of us that there may be many things we can do on our own, but there are a multitude of things we can only accomplish as we band together with likeminded believers in Jesus Christ.”

About 3,800 churches that worship in an African American context affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal for the Louisiana Baptist Convention.