SBC church: Pastoral vote affected by racism

First Baptist Church, Naples, a Southern Baptist church in southwest Florida, has acknowledged that “racial prejudice” was a factor in its congregation’s decision not to appoint Marcus Hayes, a black pastor candidate. 

Hayes, a leader of Biltmore Church, Asheville, North Carolina, received 81% of the vote by “a record 3,818” but fell short of the 85% threshold needed for approval based on the church’s bylaws, according to an email from the First, Naples’ pastoral staff. The email said “racial prejudice was introduced” into the voting process through “social media, texting, phone calls and emails.”

The staff said they are “deeply grieved” by the actions and called on “anyone who took part in the divisive and sinful actions to immediately confess and repent.” (RNS)