Posted by Meredith Flynn
Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter was in Springfield, Ill., earlier this week to meet with pastors and leaders, and to preach a three-day festival of hope at Union Baptist Church, a congregation affiliated with National Baptists. The May 6 issue of the Illinois Baptist will feature full coverage of his visit; the photos below show a few of the highlights:
Near the end of his first term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, New Orleans pastor Fred Luter visited Springfield, Ill., and met with pastors and leaders from around the state. Luter is up for re-election at this year’s SBC Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11-12.
A community choir sings during the Festival of Hope, a three-day event at Union Baptist Church in Springfield. Luter preached all three evenings, and the choir, composed of singers from several churches, led in worship.
The Festival of Hope and Fred Luter’s visit was designed to help churches in the Capital City Baptist Association connect with African American churches in the city, said David Howard, the association’s director of missions. Howard, who once pastored in the New Orleans area, envisioned Luter’s visit more than a year ago. “…Fred is just a unique guy – if you can’t like Fred, you’re not going to like anybody. So I wanted him to come and help us build bridges.” Here, Luter preaches at Union Baptist while T. Ray McJunkins, the church’s pastor, worships along with him.
Elizabeth and Fred Luter (center) participate in a worship service at the Illinois Baptist State Association Building alongside IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams (far right) and his wife Beth (far left).
During an hour-long Q&A session, Luter answered questions from Illinois Baptist pastors and leaders, like “What has surprised you most as SBC President?” and “How would you encourage pastors of small churches?”
Adams presented Luter with Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals camps, telling him, “You brother are a unifier, and a bringer-together, not only for baseball fans, but for believers in our state.”
Guests at the “Meet the President” event received a souvenir photo with President Luter to commemorate the occasion.
Dale Davenport (left) helped gather a large group of Chicagoland pastors at the event in Springfield, including (from left) Don Sharp, Bryan Price, and David Sutton.
“If you’re doing anything for me, I need you to pray for me,” Luter said. “I don’t want to mess this thing up. I really want to honor this position, to honor my family, my church, my state convention, the Southern Baptist Convention, and I want to honor God in all I do.”
The Luters and David Howard (far right) met with reporters from the Illinois Baptist newspaper for breakfast at Charlie Parker’s diner in Springfield. Look for our Q&A with them in the next issue of the IB, due May 6.