The 113th annual session of the National Baptist Congress gathered at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel under the theme “Fellowship with Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4–9). The week’s activities included nationally- known speakers, teachers, and gospel performers, as well as daily general sessions, special luncheons and events for children and youth.
The family-oriented conference, sponsored by the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, is a gathering place for faith leaders and laypersons to obtain leadership training, gain inspiration and information from church professionals, and spend time in fellowship with other believers who have a mission and mandate to serve Christ. The Congress offers Christian education training and fellowship to believers of all ages and in various disciplines, including hermeneutics for preaching, social media for churches, evangelism, marriage, Vacation Bible School, ushers, diaconate, women’s ministry, and more.
The Congress Sunday School at the host church, St. Paul Baptist Church, set the tone for the week, and featured a well-developed review of the lesson by Dr. Monica Redmond, executive pastor at the church.
Teens and children from the East Coast to the Southwest regions of the country participated in various ministries and competitions, including BTU, drill and dance team competitions, and oratorical competitions, and a youth rally that featured spoken word and youth sharing their Christian testimonies. The winning teams beamed with pride as their coveted awards were announced and they came forward to receive the trophies symbolizing their victory.
The NMBCA Summer Meeting preceded the Congress kickoff, as churches around the country convened for their session.
The Faith Leaders’ Luncheon featured an inspirational message about “Doors” from Pastor Bryan Carter, senior pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, Texas. The luncheon closed with prayers for specific ministries within the church.
Following the luncheon, Congress faculty members gathered for their annual training session, led by Dr. Eric Johnson, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky and Dr. David Groves, director of publishing at the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corp.
Many attendees took advantage of the afternoon seminars offered on a broad variety of subjects, from women’s ministry to church growth to addressing sexual abuse in the church. “Dangerously in Love: How to Reach, Rescue and Restore Victims of Abuse,” a session on the journey to wholeness after sexual abuse, was facilitated by Ashes of Tamar author Tonya Neal. Dr. Jacquie Hood Martin led a seminar on envisioning a new church with emerging and nontraditional leadership roles.
Dr. Peter Wherry, senior pastor of Charlotte’s Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church, closed Tuesday’s activities with a profound message during the Late Night service.
The first official day of Congress began on Wednesday with the March for Jesus Parade, led by president/ CEO Ms. LaDonna Boyd, along with R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation board members, Congress guests, and several drill teams.
During the opening session, Ms. LaDonna Boyd gave a State of the Congress address, followed by a message of inspiration from 2019 host pastor, Dr. Robert C. Scott, senior pastor of Charlotte’s St. Paul Baptist Church. Mrs. Yvette Boyd made a presentation on behalf of the R.H. Boyd Family Endowment.
During the Wednesday morning session, Ms. Boyd presented the R.H. Boyd Excellence Award to Mr. Oscar Alexis, Dr. Heather Burton, and Dr.
Pamela Hardy for their many years of loyal service to the Congress in the drill team, oratorical, and dance ministries respectively. The renowned Pastor Shirley Caesar closed the session with her powerful gospel singing voice.
Following the opening session, a capacity crowd filled the Women of Wisdom Luncheon to hear a rousing message from Ambassador Suzan “Sujay” Johnson Cook, followed by more inspirational singing from Pastor Shirley Caesar. The luncheon also featured the First Lady’s Fashion Show, with models attired in garments carried by Congress vendors.
The afternoon’s activities were devoted to Youth Congress and adult courses, along with drill team and dance competitions.
Wednesday evening’s Praise and Laughs, hosted by Christianee Porter (The Christi Show as Ms. Shirleen), featured an inspirational gospel concert of songs from artist Erica Campbell of the Mary Mary singing duo, and powerful selections from St. Paul’s choir.
On Wednesday night, Reverend Dr. Kimberly Moore, senior pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in Gastonia, NC, was the inspiring Late Night featured preacher.