Southern Baptist Convention considers name change

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Southern Baptist Convention may soon have a new name. Last week, Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright appointed a task force to study the idea.

"The hard part will be what will be our new name?" Pastor Jay Wolf of First Baptist Church of Montgomery said.

Pastor Wolf has a task on his hands.

"So to say we're the Southern Baptist is really a misnomer."

He's accepted the charge to be on the task force to come up with a new, more inclusive name for the Southern Baptist Convention. Wolf says it's too regional and creates challenges.

"It links back to our founding in 1845 where we were centered in the south, but that's not true anymore," Wolf said.

As the convention attempts to get away from a perceived stigma of slaveholding ties that the Southern Baptist apologized for in a 1995 resolution to African Americans.

"The name change I think would be a positive," Wolf said.

Pastor Wolf says his members are one of 56 Southern Baptist Convention affiliated churches in Montgomery. He says a name is needed to truly reflect this growing body that has a national and global presence.

"Really we're the Global Baptist. As a matter of fact, that's the name I like: Global Baptist Alliance," Wolf said.

Any name change would need approval from a majority of participants in two consecutive annual Southern Baptist meetings. Past attempts have failed.

88-year-old Mary Montgomery says she's been a Southern Baptist for most of her life.

"It would be difficult to get used to but then in other way we are not Southern Baptist, we are Baptist," Wolf said.

Pastor Wolf will represent the state of Alabama on this name change committee. He says there are 44,000 Southern Baptist congregations across the globe.

Southern Baptists are the largest protestant denomination in the country. The Southern Baptist Convention is headquartered in Nashville.

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