By Barney Blakeney
Over 1,500 Baptists from across the country converged in Columbia last week for the 83rd Annual National Baptist Deacons Convention. Jump-started by Sunday’s “Youth Talent Explosion”, Dea. Thad Miller of New Holmes Street Baptist Church in Charleston described the five-day convention as “Awesome!”
President Theodore Jackson of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Columbia, said 13 states were represented at the convention brought together to learn about Christ, service and fellowship. It was an opportunity for Christians to refuel and reconnect in serving the Gospel, he said.
Dea. Frank Russell of Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston said among the highlights were 5 a.m. daily prayer services. Each day offered a different opportunity, he said.
The convention really was about training, Russell said, but various activities made the fellowship even more inspiring.
The ‘State Rally’ gave participants from various states the opportunity to show their strength of support in a march filled with pageantry, and informal competition between the deacons in the “Sock Action” delivered high-spirited comradery as each wearer compared unique sock designs.
At Thursday’s President’s Banquet Rev. Isaac Jr., pastor of Royal Missionary Baptist Church delivered the sermon. The convention’s King and Queen were announced at the banquet. Their titles were determined by the amount of fundraising they achieved which is donated to various charities.
Russell said each year the competition raises $6,000-$10,000. This year’s King and Queen were Teddy and Mary Canzater of Columbia. Columbians also won the youth oratory and spelling bee contests. Most importantly the convention brought together Christians who through training sessions and workshops learned about the Bible, and how to become better deacons and assistants to their pastors, Russell said. Gwen Miller of New Holmes Street Baptist Church in Charleston emphasized the importance of the women’s and youth auxiliaries.
Jackson said South Carolinians came together to host the convention. Seeing how the Holy Spirit manifested itself in doing that was the convention’s biggest highlight, he said.