Pastor Kevin Smith Is Unanimously Elects as the ERLC’s First Black Chairperson

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Pastor Kevin Smith has been unanimously elected as the chairperson for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Smith is replacing Lori Bova as trustee chairperson. He is the first Black man to hold the position in the organization’s history, The Christian Post reports.

“Over the last two years, our entity has been blessed by the leadership of Chairwoman Lori Bova,” Brent Leatherwood, president of the ERLC, said in a statement announcing Smith’s election. “She’s been a constant source of wisdom and encouragement, and we are grateful for her time as chair. Our board has now turned over the gavel to Kevin Smith, a pastor with deep ties in SBC life, who personally understands the importance of cooperation as a Baptist distinctive. I am thrilled to work with him and our new executive committee in this upcoming season.”

Smith is the pastor of Family Church Village in West Palm Beach, Florida, and previously worked as the director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware. He has been on the board since 2018.

In June, he came under criticism for comments he made at the SBC annual meeting, saying, “I think some Southern Baptists lost their minds when a black man was elected president. Not all, but some,” Smith said, referencing Barack Obama’s presidency. “I think some Southern Baptists were unloving to black people beginning in 2012 with the killing of Trayvon Martin. I don’t mean agree about politics or policy. I just mean giving a darn that somebody else is hurting who is supposed to be your brother or sister in Christ.

“And I think some Southern Baptists just bent over and became political whores with this whole Trump stuff,” he said.

During its September meeting, the ERLC also announced that it had identified five priorities to focus on.

  1. Fortify relationships with partners, with priority given to Baptist partners.
  2. Provide resources to help churches and Christians thrive in a tumultuous culture.
  3. Actively pursue additional sources of revenue in order to enhance our capacity to fulfill our ministry assignment.
  4. Bolster the ERLC’s brand awareness in SBC circles and beyond.
  5. Maintain a team culture where every employee thrives professionally and personally.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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