Pastors and parishioners filled the St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, Dec. 9 for the installation service for new officers of the Baptist Minister’s Union (BMU) of Oakland and Vicinity.
St. John Pastor Dr. Gregory Payton was installed as the new president of the BMU, taking the torch from Dr. Lawrence VanHook of Community Christian Church of Christ.
The theme for the evening, “Moving from Impression to Impact Through Kingdom Living,” was taken from Ephesians 4:1-13. Bishop Frank Pinkard, Jr. of Evergreen Baptist Church was the guest speaker.
The service was filled with praise and worship as Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. of Allen Temple delivered a proclamation of purpose, telling the history of the BMU and calling for unity of the churches to support President Payton.
“We have to stand with him because every week some young people are committing Black on Black crime,” Dr. Smith said. “The burden is on the Baptist Union and not just on the president.”
New BMU officers were installed to represent a body of pastors that that will serve as leaders in the community and uphold the mission of the organization.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is be more vocal in our communities,” Dr. Payton said. “We’re impactful in our churches, but I think we’ll make a major difference when we’re able as preachers to come together and be impactful in civic affairs. Thank God for people like Pastor Chambers who’s going to train us and get us up to speed.”
Pastor Ken Chambers, Sr. of West Side Baptist Church was installed as civic chairman, along with Pastor Zac Carey of True Vine Ministries.
Other BMU officers are: Pastor K. David Johnson, special aide to the president; Bishop Frank Pinkard, special aide; Pastor Lloyd Farr, special aide; Pastor Lawrence VanHook, vice president at large; Pastor Todd Wheelock, vice president; Pastor Curtis Robinson, vice president;
Pastor Johnny Leggett, vice president; Pastor Kevin Craddock, vice president, Revival Evangelism Coordinator and Publicity and Advertisement chairman; Pastor Marty Peters, secretary/Youth-A-Rama; Pastor Robbie Robinson, treasurer; Pastor Michael Wallace, assistant treasurer;
Pastor H. L. Garnett, financial secretary; Rev. Jesse Wyatt, assistant financial secretary; Pastor George Matthews, Prison Ministry coordinator; Pastor Kevin Barnes, Crisis and Restoration chairman; Pastor Elliott Ivey, Publicity and Advertisement chairman and dean Ministers Lyceum; Pastor Tommie Harris, Sargent at Arms and Ushers; and Bishop Keith Clark, dean Ministers Lyceum.
Focusing on efforts around jobs and political engagement, Payton said he is excited to be working with this team of pastors.
“They’re fresh minds able to see this modern day ministry, to see the tragedies and relate because we’re not that far from some of the individuals who are in jail, some of the individuals who are not working,” he said.
“I want to give us tools to be more effective in our churches and be impactful by having relationships with some of our corporate sponsors, with our politicians, (and) also have relationships where jobs are available for our people,” Payton said.
“I want to bring the brethren together to let them know how important it is that we can be a voice in our community.”