Charlotte's Rev. Clifford Jones running to head National Baptist Convention

tfunk@charlotteobserver.comSeptember 6, 2013 

Charlotte’s Rev. Clifford Jones Sr. will be a 2014 candidate for president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. – America’s oldest and largest black Baptist organization.

Jones, who pastors Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, is hosting the National Baptists’ 133rd annual session this week in Charlotte.

The campaign card announcing Jones’ candidacy was distributed Thursday at the Charlotte Convention Center, where nearly 20,000 black Baptists from around the country will meet through Friday.

The election will be next year, when the National Baptists meet for their 134th annual session, Sept. 1-5, in New Orleans. The denomination, which has about 7 million members, is based in Nashville, Tenn.

The current president, Rev. Julius Scruggs of Huntsville, Ala., who was elected in 2009, has said he will not seek a second five-year term. Jones is believed to be the first announced 2014 candidate for the post.

This week, Jones and his 8,000-member megachurch have kept a high profile: On Sunday, Scruggs and another past National Baptist Convention president, Rev. William Shaw, gave the sermons at the church’s 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. services.

Then, on Monday, Friendship Missionary Baptist – established in 1890 – hosted two concerts for convention-goers.

On Thursday, U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx was in Charlotte to greet the National Baptist gathering. Foxx and another former Charlotte mayor, Harvey Gantt, both call Jones their pastor and have long attended Friendship Missionary Baptist.

On his campaign card, Jones touts his various church assignments over the years, including serving as former president of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc.

Funk: 704-358-5703

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