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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 1, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 22
Southern Baptist Convention tosses out DC branch over Lesbian pastors
Section One
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Southern Baptist Convention tosses out DC branch over Lesbian pastors

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Southern Baptist Convention has broken off ties with its Washington, DC branch over two Lesbian pastors at a DC church.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest Christian denomination in the US, with more than 15 million members, and it is strongly opposed to LGBT equality.

The District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) was rejected by its parent group after it declined to take action against Calvary Baptist Church in DC. The church hired a Lesbian couple, Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen, as co-pastors in 2017.

D. August Boto, the denomination's Executive Committee president, confirmed that, 'the formal relationship between the SBC and the DCBC has come to an end.' As part of the breakup, Boto moved to take control of Baptist charitable assests.

'I will soon send another letter to each of eight churches we know of in DC that are supporting SBC work through financial gifts directed through the DCBC,' Boto said.

'The letters will inform each group that the formal relationship between the SBC and the DCBC has come to an end and that& the SBC no longer recognizes the District of Columbia Baptist Convention as a Baptist body authorized to receive and disburse Cooperative Program and other SBC contributions.'

'[We have] expressed deep regret over the need to take this action, but felt compelled to affirm biblical truth over organizational relationships,' Boto added.

Boto claimed the SBC would 'consider resuming its relationship with the DCBC in the future' should its leaders decide to follow the SBC's demands and take action against the Calvary church.

Boto only recently took command of the Baptist group. Its previous president, Frank S. Page, resigned his post on May 28, after admitting to an 'inappropriate relationship' with a staffer.

Boto became a member of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee in the 1990s. He was selected as its vice president for convention policy/staff counsel in 1998. In 2007, he was named executive vice president and general counsel of the Executive Committee.

The Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1845 by Baptists who supported slavery in the southern US. Northern Baptists were not only anti-slavery but wanted to exclude pro-slavery members from being missionaries on the grounds that they were morally disqualified from preaching the Gospel.

After the Civil War, many newly freed African-Americans set up independent black congregations, regional associations, and state and national conventions, such as the National Baptist Convention, which became the second-largest Baptist convention by the end of the 19th century.

Others joined new African-American denominations, chiefly the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was established in the early 19th century as the first independent black denomination in the United States.

There are several Southern Baptist churches in Seattle, but Seattle First Baptist and University Baptist churches are affiliated with the American Baptist Church, which allows each congregation to determine their own position on same-sex marriages.

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