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Southern Baptists reach more blacks


Efforts by Southern Baptists to "reach more into the African American community" in older cities such as Baltimore are showing some success, according to a local church official.

Congregations of the Southern Baptist Convention constitute the nation's largest Protestant denomination. Traditionally, its membership has been mainly white, theologically conservative and concentrated in the South.

While statistics published recently by the denomination's Home Mission Board in Atlanta showed a drop in the number of Baltimore Baptist Association churches from 58 to 56 between 1971 and 1990, a local spokesman says the Baltimore association's active congregations actually total 77. That is up from 65 in 1990.

The reason for the disparity of figures is the failure of many churches to file annual reports with the national mission board, says Mike Fahey, director of metropolitan missions for the Baltimore Baptist Association. Southern Baptist churches in the city and Baltimore County make up this group.

He says the greatest growth in Southern Baptist membership continues to be in suburban churches such as those of the Arundel, Howard and Harford-Susquehanna associations and the Central Association, which includes Carroll County.


Women and girls named Elizabeth Ann will be given special recognition at an Aug. 29 service in Emmitsburg celebrating the 218th anniversary of the birth of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Also to be honored are children with any of the names that Elizabeth Seton gave her own sons and daughters: William, Richard, Anna, Catherine and Rebecca.

The 3 p.m. service in the basilica at the Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg will be presided over by Bishop John F. Donoghue of Charlotte, N.C. Historical landmarks on the grounds, to which visitors will be admitted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., include Mother Seton's home, a museum and a house where she opened the first Roman Catholic parish school in 1810.

Information: (301) 447-6606.


Bishop John R. Bryant, former minister of Baltimore's Bethel A.M.E. Church, is guest preacher for a three-day revival next month at St. James' Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, Lafayette and Arlington avenues.

The services of this third annual revival begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 2, 3 and 4. Security will be provided. Information: 523-4588.


Agape Women's Institute will conduct a retreat for women in the ordained ministry today through Sunday at Embassy Suites in Hunt Valley. Call 466-4545 for information and to register.

Sunday lectures

Eric Goldstein will speak on "The Jews of Colonial Maryland" at 2 p.m. Sept. 13 in the first of three free lectures announced in conjunction with a new exhibit of the Jewish Historical Society that celebrates 200 years of Jewish life in Baltimore. Other lectures will be on Oct. 11 and Nov. 15.

The society's events are held at its Jewish Heritage Center on Lloyd Street near Lombard Street. The center, which includes synagogues built in 1845 and 1876, a garden and a modern museum and library, is open to the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 732-6400.

Send religious news items -- about events, local personalities, etc. -- to Religion Notes, c/o Frank Somerville, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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