The Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) held its annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month. According to a Religion News Service report, the 47-year-old convention passed two dozen resolutions related to issues of justice and compassion.

Certainly that is expected from a group formed in the American struggle for civil rights by such legendary Baptist leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Gardner Taylor.

Participants urged the government to halt the rapid foreclosures on homes that have disproportionately impacted the African-American community. As well, churches were called on to continue working to reduce the spread of AIDS.

Many other issues were addressed as well — including concern for the environment. It was a new topic on the PNBC table.

President T. DeWitt Smith (above), an Atlanta pastor, told RNS that that PNBC churches have shown increased concern about climate change following the historic Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant gathering with multiple Baptist groups last winter.

As a result, one of the resolutions coming out of the recent PNBC meeting urged churches to ask members to seek congressional and presidential action to support measures that would reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Smith said the PNBC is taking steps to help congregations to understand what it means to “go green” with their church facilities and to give greater attention to teaching children how to care for the Earth.

When Baptists — as individuals and as groups — learn from one another, it demonstrates the benefits of being together across denominational, cultural and racial lines. There are many things other Baptist groups and individuals can learn from Progressive National Baptists too.

As the sharing of ideas and the building of mutually beneficial relationships continue among Baptist groups, the hope of Celebration organizers (including Dr. Smith and PNBC Executive Director Tyrone Pitts) is being realized.

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