National Baptists re-elect president

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The nation's largest black Baptist denomination has re-elected the president who pulled the group out of an administrative and financial scandal.

About 35,000 participants at the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. chose the Rev. William Shaw of Philadelphia over the Rev. Franklyn Richardson of Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Shaw, 70, was elected to a second, five-year term. Richardson, 55, was making his third run for office.

Shaw pledged to continue rehabilitating the denomination, whose business affairs were torn apart by predecessor President Henry J. Lyons, then a pastor in St. Petersburg, Fla. Lyons served nearly five years in prison for grand theft and racketeering and is now a Baptist pastor in Tampa, Fla.

Shaw ran on a record of paying off a debt of nearly $3 million on the denomination's headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., instituting new financial controls and rewriting the constitution and bylaws. He has given up his $100,000 president's salary, a move he said showed his commitment to the denomination.

The National Baptist body, with a reported 5 million members, and the Church of God in Christ are the nation's two largest black organizations of any type.

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