Jerry Young elected National Baptist Convention president
The Rev. Jerry Young is ready to lead Baptists here and across the country as the new president of the National Baptist Convention, USA.
“To all of the fine Christians in Mississippi who haven’t been praying, they better start now,” a laughing Young said, soliciting prayers for his five-year term.
Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, makes history as the first Mississippi pastor chosen for the position. The 134th annual session for the National Baptist Convention took place this week in New Orleans, and Young was elected Thursday night from a field of five candidates nominated for the seat.
The other nominees were R.B Holmes, Clifford Jones, Boise Kimber and Randy Vaughn.
Young garnered 3,195 of the 6,400 votes cast. His agenda involves assembling a team to work on the organization’s “infrastructure” to respond to the needs of members through a unified and fresh vision.
“I have named four people (Friday) morning that will consist of a skeleton crew, and we will meet over the next several weeks to ensure the best we can that we have the right people in all the right seats,” Young said.
Young succeeds Julius R. Scruggs, pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, elected president Sept. 10, 2009, during the 129th annual session, held in Memphis. Until Thursday’s vote, Young served as the organization’s vice president at large and also served as president of the Mississippi National Baptist Convention for 12 years.
Marcus Cathey, pastor of West Point Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, and his congregation supported Young during his campaign. Cathey grew up in Jackson and attended New Hope.
“Mississippi is often looked down upon for many reasons, but this election will give the nation the opportunity to see the type of leadership that’s produced here in our state,” Cathey said in an email.
Young, a Scott native, has led New Hope Baptist Church since 1980, and is the founder and headmaster of New Hope Christian Preschool and New Hope Christian Elementary School, which serve 300-plus students.
New Hope is home to over 3,000 members and 44 ministries. Young and wife Helen Atkins Young have two daughters and four grandchildren.
New Hope member Donna Ross believes Young’s leading by example, teaching style and family-oriented personality will enable him to be just as hands-on for the national organization.
“He’s more than a pastor,” Ross said. “He’s a teacher, … and if you feel your duty is to reach out to the community around your church and become a national leader, you apply the same concept on a larger scale.”
The National Baptist Convention, USA is the largest African-American religious organization in the country.