A call for various boycotts highlighted the annual convention of the 1.8 million—member Progressive National Baptist Convention. Leaders of the predominantly black church body called for a boycott of all companies still doing business in South Africa until the “total dismantling of the apartheid system” is achieved.

Progressive Baptists also denounced what were called “racist practices of the Japanese [auto makers] who are deliberately building plants in America in isolated rural areas so that only a few inner-city black people will be able to work in these factories.” They called on black people to boycott Japanese products.

Denominational leaders also called for a boycott of Nestlé products, based on allegations that the company’s marketing techniques encourage Third World women to forgo breastfeeding in favor of infant formula, a charge the company denies.

In other actions, Progressive Baptists issued a statement against “dictatorial forms of government,” singling out the African nations of Liberia and Kenya. They also called on other black Baptist bodies to take part in a “summit conference” aimed at developing a national agenda for black Baptists that addresses all areas of life. And, as reported in the last issue of CT, the group invited disenchanted Southern Baptists to join their denomination.

Membership Ups (And Downs)

At the annual session of the general presbytery of the Assemblies of God, General Secretary Joseph R. Flower announced that membership in the denomination had increased by 202,492 (19%) since 1980. But Flower noted that the church lost 7,450 members in 1988 and an additional 714 last year.

New Province Proposed (Again)

Traditionalists in the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church, organized as the Episcopal Synod of America (ESA), have issued a second call for the establishment of a new province in the church. The denomination’s presiding bishop, Edmond Browning, dismissed a similar request earlier this year.

The ESA proposal calls for a province based not on geography (as is the case with the church’s nine existing provinces), but on theological matters. Traditionalists are uncomfortable with some of their denomination’s leanings on theological and moral issues.

Women And Pastoral Duties

Delegates to the sixty-third general assembly of the 2.1 million-member Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) approved a measure giving women authority to perform pastoral duties. Ordained ministers in the denomination first recommended the action, which was then approved by the full assembly, which consists of ministers and laymen.

The assembly was also advised of a measure proposing that women be allowed to vote in general assembly. It will be presented to the 1992 meeting, as church law requires a two-year notice so that such proposals may be discussed in local churches before an assembly vote.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.