Tennessee Baptist Convention Has First Black President After ‘Long Overdue’ Election
Rev. Micheal Ellis has led the Impact Baptist Church, which is a church plant of the massive Bellevue Baptist congregation in Memphis. Credit: IBC

Tennessee Baptist Convention Has First Black President After ‘Long Overdue’ Election

Rev. Micheal Ellis has led the Impact Baptist Church, which is a church plant of the massive Bellevue Baptist congregation in Memphis. Credit: IBC
Rev. Michael Ellis leads the Impact Baptist Church, which is a church plant of the Bellevue Baptist congregation in Memphis. Credit: IBC

Tennessee’s Southern Baptists have elected their first-ever African American president. This comes two years after the national denomination, the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, elected a black president for the first time.

Rev. Michael Ellis, who leads a church in Memphis, is a father of six and a Navy veteran. He was nominated for president during the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Brentwood this week.

Fellow Memphis pastor Fred Shackelford noted that Ellis was also the first African-American pastor to serve as the convention’s vice-president.

“We have this opportunity to do this long overdue, historic thing” by electing him to the presidency, he said.

But Shackelford’s case for Ellis was about more than race.

“I don’t care what color Michael’s skin is,” he said. “He has what it takes to lead this convention well.”

The crowd gave Ellis a standing ovation after he was elected unanimously. He will serve a one-year term.

https://twitter.com/fshackel4d/status/532299609096589313

Emily Siner

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On Twitter: @SinerSays
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