Florida Baptists offer reactions to Fred Luter election, New Orleans SBC
Jun 27, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (FBW)—Florida Baptists—both in New Orleans and watching from the Sunshine State, in comments to Florida Baptist Witness and via Twitter—offered their thoughts on the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans, June 19-20.

The biggest news of the SBC, as expected, was the election of Fred Luter, the first African American elected president, and Florida Baptists’ responded enthusiastically.

Florida Baptists also opined on the convention’s unity, the new “Great Commission Baptists” descriptor, David Uth’s convention sermon, resolutions, and New Orleans eateries and fellowship. 

Comments from Twitter contain the person’s Twitter account (e.g. “@deaninserra”); other comments were to the Witness. Tweeted comments are quoted as published (other than removing hashtags—subject matter identifying text, e.g. “#sbc12”—unless necessary). Twitter shorthand is sometimes employed, using numbers and other forms of abbreviation. “RT” stands for “retweet”—using another person’s tweet, whose identity follows “RT.”


Roger Richards, dean of students at The Baptist College of Florida: regarding Fred Luter as new SBC president, “This is a teachable convention for our students.”

Dottie Cranford, Rock Sink Baptist Church in Old Town: “It’s been wonderful, very uplifting, and inspiring. The fact that we’re breaking racial barriers is phenomenal.” 

Maxie Miller (@maxiemiller), team strategist, African American Church Planting, Florida Baptist Convention: “RT @DruHart: RT @RtRDH: I am so proud of the #SBC for electing a Black president, proud like a parent at a kindergarten graduation ceremony.”

Willy Rice (@WillyRice), pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater: “Honestly, watching a black man elected President of SBC on the banks of the Mississippi River was profoundly emotional.”

Brett Maragni (@pastorbrett), pastor of Harvest Church in Jacksonville: “Praising God that Southern Baptists have come a long way in 167 yrs...from slavery supporters to electing an African American President.”

Tim Brister (@timmybrister), associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral: “Overwhelming to be on the floor of the SBC to stand and vote for Fred Luter as president of the SBC. Such a great moment.”

Christie Crawford (@christiecrawfrd), member of First Baptist Church in Merritt Island: “Teared up as Fred Luter was elected SBC president. The 1st African American pres. And now Micah could be SBC pres. someday... If he wants!”

Darren Gaddis (@DarrenGaddis), pastor of First Baptist Church in Ocala: “We just elected the first ever African-American Southern Baptist Convention president. Truly historic. Congrats Dr. Luter!”

Danny Slavich (@DannySlavich), pastor of Pembroke Road Baptist Church in Miramar: “Praise God! Fred Luter is elected as the first African American president of the Southern Baptist Convention!”

Josh Gussler (@JoshGussler), singles and media director of First Baptist Church in Leesburg: “I feel the energy from the #sbc12 in NOLA all the way in Leesburg, FL.”


Waylon Carlisle, pastor of Alafia Baptist Church in Lithia: “It’s been very interesting. I see more unity of spirit among the people. It’s been right on for what we need to hear.” 

Greg George, senior pastor of Gulf Beach Baptist Church in Panama City: “The message I’ve heard in the convention has been an overall call to unity.”  


Rudie Guta, associate pastor of Gulf Beach Baptist Church in Panama City:  “I enjoyed David Uth’s message. ... It was a good reminder for us to see the potential of Jesus in every one.” 

Dean Inserra (@deaninserra), pastor of City Church in Tallahassee: “He’s the real deal. RT @Jonathanakin: Appreciate very much the convention sermon by David Uth. Great gospel reminders.”

Joel Breidenbaugh (@DrJoelB), pastor of First Baptist Church of Sweetwater in Longwood:  “Listening 2 my friend David Uth preach at SBC. Gr8ful 4 him & his leadership among SBC & FL Baptists.”

Mike Tatem (@MikeTatem), pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Lake City: “David Uth presenting a powerful message on forgiveness. Entire convention should be hearing this. Less than half are present.”



Dottie Cranford of Rock Sink Baptist Church in Old Town: “I don’t want it to cause problems. I want us to stay unified.” 

Ted Traylor (@tedtraylor), pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola: “Great Commission Baptists will meet in Houston TX June 11-12, 2013 for the annual convention.”

Matt Swain (@DayPreacher), pastor of Brewer Lake Baptist Church in Day: “I am now a GCB. What think ye that is?”


Randy Huckabee (@randyhuckabee), pastor of First Baptist Church in Okeechobee: “So sad that we as a Body of believers will not boldly declare God created this world in 6 24 hr days. If we can’t accept Gen. 1:5 as 24 hrs …”

Matt Crawford (@matcrawford), associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Merritt Island: “Glad the amendment 2 insist upon a literal, 24-hour day in Genesis creation was defeated. U can believe in historical Adam & inerrancy w/o it.”

Chip Parker (@chipparker), pastor of Airline Baptist Church in Mayo: “It’s not the prayer that saves. It is God who saves. But do we really have to debate that God hears our cries for forgiveness?”

Ken Whitten (@kenwhitten), pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz: “Thank You @jimmyscroggins for your great leadership in leading SBC in our Resolutions Committee. You’re 1st class.”


Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

FAITHRIDERS Buddy Newsome of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland greets a visitor to the FAITHRiders ministry booth . Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

RELAXING Leah Gaddis, 11, and Ethan, 9, check out exhibits in SBC New Orleans. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

CONGRATULATIONS Ervin L. McWilson (L) DOM of the Suncoast Baptist Assn. in Largo, and Eugene McCormick (R), of the Florida Baptist Convention, with new SBC president Fred Luter Jr. Photo by John C. Hannigan

EXHIBITS Jennifer Gaddis, wife of the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Ocala, and daughter, Meredith, 5, gather goodies. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

EXHIBITS Bryan Bair, student pastor at First Baptist Church in Ocala (l), looks through a new booth promoting tourism to Israel. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

Chuck Kelley, NOBTS president and Tracy Tatum of Jacksonville. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
VISITING Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of First Baptist Church West Palm Beach and Bob Tebow, a missionary and member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

Ted Traylor, pastor, Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola and Darren Gaddis, senior pastor, First Baptist Church in Ocala. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

Bobby Welch, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Daytona with Finny Mathews, president Alpha International Ministries. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan






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