A story of advancing in the SBC
    July 30 2012 by William E. McCall, Mooresville

    The election of Fred Luter as Southern Baptist Convention president is a great story of God’s work. Franklin Avenue Baptist Church has advanced from a church that would not allow its mission church to baptize African Americans to the largest Baptist church in Louisiana, made up [mostly] of African Americans.
    The story of this advancement can be seen in the relationship between Franklin Avenue and Florida Avenue Baptist churches. In the mid 1950’s Franklin Avenue and the Home Mission Board started a mission near the Florida Avenue housing development (mainly Caucasian). Later there was an influx of Cuban refugees, and then in the 1960’s mostly African American. In the mid 1960’s, [a group of African American children], were passing by the mission on their way to a church down the street. As they walked by they [asked] the mission pastor if they could come to church there. He answered “Yes.” When I began working with the mission church in 1971, there was one elderly white member. Others from the community began to attend and when time came for the next baptism there were African Americans who had accepted Christ and asked to be baptized. When the mission asked to use Franklin Avenue’s baptistry, the leadership refused.
    In the 70’s, this attitude began to change. I think it was in 1974 that we baptized in [that] baptistry. [The church later] became a mission of Gentilly Baptist where we had baptized when not able to do so at Franklin Avenue. I led Florida Avenue to call an African-American student from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1974. In 1975, they called a bivocational pastor-taxi driver. I did not know Fred Luter, but did know John Henry Thomas who was one of the African-American pastors of Franklin Avenue before Luter.
    What a moment to recollect our connection to these moments in God’s story of grace!
    William E. McCall, retired IMB
    7/30/2012 2:21:04 PM by William E. McCall, Mooresville | with 0 comments

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