Progressive National Baptist Convention

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Progressive National Baptist Convention, Incorporated
Progresive NBC logo.png
Classification Mainline Protestant
Orientation Progressive, Baptist
Polity Congregationalist
PresidentRev. Dr. Timothy Stewart
Associations National Council of Churches
Baptist World Alliance
FounderL. Venchael Booth
Cincinnati, Ohio
Separated from National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Members1.5 million (2017) [1]
Official website

The Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), incorporated as the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., is a mainline predominantly African American Baptist denomination emphasizing civil rights and social justice. The headquarters of the Progressive National Baptist Convention are in Washington, D.C. Since its organization, the denomination has member churches outside the United States, particularly in the Caribbean and Europe. It is a member of the National Council of Churches and the Baptist World Alliance.


It formed in 1961 after civil-rights-oriented Baptist ministers, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. failed to replace Joseph H. Jackson, the long-time head of the National Baptist Convention (NBC USA). The older group stood aloof from the Civil Rights Movement which was often led by local Baptist ministers. The dissidents nominated Gardner C. Taylor as president of the NBC USA. [2] After an hour-long fist fight between reformers and standpatters, in which one elderly minister was accidentally killed, Jackson's supporters won. King was purged from the NBC USA and his goal of using the united power of the black Baptist community to promote civil rights came to nothing. His defeat prompted the formation of the new group. [3]

Thirty-three delegates from 14 states gathered at Zion Baptist Church in Cincinnati to discuss the issue. The vote to organize passed by one vote. L. Venchael Booth, pastor of Zion Baptist in Cincinnati, was the unheralded founder of the movement as documented by former Christianity Today Associate Editor Edward Gilbreath[ citation needed]. The convention was originally formed as the "Progressive Baptist Convention" and word "National" was added to the name in 1962. The convention has grown from the original founding numbers to member congregations throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

Civil rights

The PNBC has followed a path of political activism, supporting groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and methods such as affirmative action. Famous civil rights leaders who were members of the PNBC include Martin Luther King, Benjamin Mays, Ralph David Abernathy, Wyatt Tee Walker, and Gardner C. Taylor. The Convention bills the "progressive concept" as "fellowship, progress, and peace."

Sessions of the Convention are held annually in August; it celebrated its 50th Annual Session in Washington, D.C. in August 2011. The PBNC has partnered with the predominantly white American Baptist Churches in the USA since 1970. In 1995, one study asserted the convention had 741 affiliated churches, while another claimed they had over 2,500,000 members in 2,000 churches. A number of the churches are dually aligned with the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.


The PNBC recognizes the ordination of women, a practice not widely followed by Baptist groups. The convention does not ordain women; however, their member churches may do so without interference. Likewise, the PNBC allows locally autonomous congregations to determine policy regarding same-gender marriages, and the PNBC has not taken an official stance on the issue, leaving room for diversity of opinion. [4]

See also


  1. ^ Baptist World Alliance - Statistics
  2. ^ Jerry M Carter (Jr) (2007). The Audible Sacrament: The Sacramentality of Gardner C. Taylor's Preaching. ProQuest. pp. 5–7.
  3. ^ Taylor Branch (2007). Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63. Simon and Schuster. pp. 228–31, 500–7.
  4. ^ Salmon, Jacqueline L. (2007-08-19). "Rift Over Gay Unions Reflects Battle New to Black Churches". The Washington Post. ISSN  0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-25.

Further reading

  • William Booth, A Call to Greatness: The Story of the Founding of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, ISBN  1-55618-196-5
  • Gilbreath, Edward, The Forgotten Founder, Christianity Today, Vol. 46, No. 3, 11 March 2002
  • Albert W. Wardin, Jr., Baptists Around the World, ISBN  0-8054-1076-7
  • Bill J. Leonard, editor, Dictionary of Baptists in America, ISBN  0-8308-1447-7
  • Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, & Craig D. Atwood, Handbook of Denominations, ISBN  0-687-06983-1
  • National Council of Churches, Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches

External links