Black Baptist Leader to Pray at Democratic Convention - Word&Way

Black Baptist Leader to Pray at Democratic Convention

Jerry Young

When the Democratic National Convention closes its first of four days of sessions tonight (Aug. 17), a Black Baptist leader will be praying. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA — the largest Black Baptist denomination in the country — will give the benediction for Monday’s DNC session.

Other faith leaders who will pray during the DNC’s meeting that will formally nominate its presidential ticket include Gabriel Salguero, a Hispanic pastor in Florida who leads the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal bishop in Washington, D.C.; Archbishop Elpidophoros, head of the Greek Orthodox Church of America; Sister Simone Campbell of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Rabbi Lauren Berkun of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America; James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author; and Al-Hajj Talib, an imam in New York City.

The convention, which is being held mostly virtual due to coronavirus, will formally nominate Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate for president and Kamala Harris as his running mate. If elected, Biden would be the second Catholic president, and Harris would be the fifth Baptist vice president. She is a member at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, a historically-Black congregation affiliated with the NBCUSA and the American Baptist Churches USA.

Young, who has served as NBCUSA president since 2014, is also pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Four years ago, Baptist author and professor Tony Campolo prayed at the 2016 DNC meeting. The Republicans have not yet released the schedule of invocations and benedictions for their 2020 convention to be held next week.

UPDATE [Aug. 18, 2020]: Here is Young’s prayer as delivered: