Many African-American SBC churches have women pastors on staff
Will they be expelled next?
Bob Smietana/Religion News Service | 7/13/2023, 6 p.m.
Earlier this year, Southern Baptists expelled five churches from the nation’s largest Protestant denomination for having women as pastors.
Now, the leader of a fellowship of African-American Southern Baptist pastors wonders if their churches will be next.
In a letter last week, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s National African American Fellowship asked to meet with the denomination’s president, saying the SBC’s recent decisions to expel churches with women pastors had caused “division within the SBC and may disproportionately impact NAAF affiliated congregations.”
“Many of our churches assign the title ‘pastor’ to women who oversee ministries of the church under the authority of a male Senior Pastor, i.e., Children’s Pastor, Worship Pastor, Discipleship Pastor, etc.,” wrote the Rev. Gregory Perkins, pastor of The View Church in Menifee, Calif. and president of the NAAF.
He also said a proposed amendment to the SBC’s con- stitution to bar churches with women pastors violated the autonomy of local churches — a vital Baptist belief.
During the recent SBC annual meeting, local church delegates, known as messengers, voted to affirm the decision to expel Saddleback Church in Southern California — one of the denomination’s largest churches — and Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville.
Three other expelled churches — including two predominantly Black churches where women had succeeded their late husbands as pastors — did not appeal.
Messengers also voted to change the SBC’s constitution to bar churches with women pastors.